The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf
You have quite likely heard of the girl who trod on a loaf so as not to soil her pretty shoes, and what misfortunes this brought upon her. The story has been written and printed, too.
She was a poor child, but proud and arrogant, and people said she had a bad disposition. When but a very little child, she found pleasure in catching flies, to pull off their wings and make creeping insects of them. And she used to stick May bugs and beetles on a pin, then put a green leaf or piece of paper close to their feet, so that the poor animals clung to it, and turned and twisted as they tried to get off the pin.
"The May bug is reading now," little Inger would say. "See how it turns the leaves!"
As she grew older she became even worse instead of better; but she was very pretty, and that was probably her misfortune. Because otherwise she would have been disciplined more than she was.
"You'll bring misfortune down upon you," said her own mother to her. "As a little child you often used to trample on my aprons; and when you're older I fear you'll trample on my heart."
And she really did.
Then she was sent into the country to be in the service of people of distinction. They treated her as kindly as if she had been their own child and dressed her so well that she looked extremely beautiful and became even more arrogant.
When she had been in their service for about a year, her mistress said to her, "You ought to go back and visit your parents, little Inger."
So she went, but only because she wanted to show them how fine she had become. But when she reached the village, and saw the young men and girls gossiping around the pond, and her mother sat resting herself on a stone near by, with a bundle of firewood she had gathered in the forest, Inger turned away; she was ashamed that one dressed as smartly as she should have for a mother such a poor, ragged woman who gathered sticks for burning. It was without reluctance that she turned away; she was only annoyed.
Another half year went by.