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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "What Happened to the Thistle"

What Happened to the Thistle

"You have come as if you were called for," the thistle bush told them. "I expect to cross the fence any minute now."

A couple of innocent daisies and some tall, narrow-leaved canary grass listened with deepest admiration, and believed everything that they heard. The old donkey, who had to pull the milk cart, looked longingly at the blooming thistle bush and reached out for it, but his tether was too short.

The thistle thought so hard and so long about the Scotch thistle, whom she considered akin to her, that she began to believe that she herself had come from Scotland and that it was her own ancestors who had grown on the Scottish arms. This was toplofty thinking, but then tall thistles are apt to think tall thought.

"Sometimes one is of more illustrious ancestry than he ventures to suppose," said a nettle which grew near-by. It had a notion that it could be transformed into fine muslin if properly handled.

Summer went by, and fall went by, and the leaves fell from the trees. The flowers were more colorful, but less fragrant. On the other side of the fence the gardener's boy sang:

"Up the hill and down the hill,

That's the way the world goes still."

And the young fir trees in the woods began to look forward to Christmas, though Christmas was a long time off.

"Here I still stay," said the thistle. "It is as if nobody thinks of me any more, yet it was I who made the match. They were engaged, and now they have been married. That was eight days ago. But I haven't progressed a single step - how can I?"

Several weeks went by. The thistle had one last, lonely flower. Large and full, it grew low, near the root. The cold wind blew over it, its color faded, its splendor departed. Only the thistle-shaped cup remained, as large as an artichoke blossom, and as silvery as a sunflower.

The young couple, who now were man and wife, came down the garden walk along the fence. The bride looked over the fence, and said, "Why, there still stands the big thistle, but it hasn't a flower left.

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