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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "Something"


"I'm going to be something!" said the eldest of five brothers. "I'm going to be useful in the world, however humble a position I hold; if that which I'm doing is useful, that will be Something. I'll make bricks; people can't do without bricks, so at least I'll do Something."

"But something very unimportant," said the second brother. "What you'd be doing would be as good as nothing! That's a laborer's job and can be done by a machine. No, you'd better become a mason; that's really Something, and that's what I'm going to be. That is a position! Then you belong to a guild and become a citizen, have a banner of your own and your own quarters at the inn. Yes, and if things come out well I may get to be a master, and have workmen under me, and my wife will be known as the master's wife. That will be Something!"

"That's nothing at all," said the third. "Just think how many different classes there are in a town far above a master mason. You may be an honest man, but even as a master you'll only be what is called 'common.' No, I know Something better than that. I'll be an architect, will live among the thinkers, the artists; I'll raise myself up to the intellectual aristocracy. Of course, I may have to begin at the bottom; yes, I might as well say it - I will have to start as a carpenter's boy, wearing a cap, though I'm used to wearing a silk hat, and to fetch beer and spirits for the simple workmen, and listen to their insults. Of course, that's irritating, but I'll try to pretend it's only a masquerade. 'Tomorrow,' I'll say, 'when I'm a journeyman, I'll be on my own course, and I'll have nothing to do with the others.' Yes, I'll go to the academy, learn to draw, and get to be an architect. That is Something! That's a whole lot! I may even get a title - yes, have one placed before or after my name; and I shall build and build, as others have done before me. Yes, that's Something one can rely on; it's Something wholly worth while."

"But Something that I care nothing about," said the fourth.

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