The Pea Blossom

: Hans Andersens Fairy Tales

THERE were once five peas in one shell; they were green, and the shell

was green, and so they believed that the whole world must be green also,

which was a very natural conclusion.

The shell grew, and the peas grew; and as they grew they arranged

themselves all in a row. The sun shone without and warmed the shell, and

the rain made it clear and transparent; it looked mild and agreeable in

broad daylight a
d dark at night, just as it should. And the peas, as

they sat there, grew bigger and bigger, and more thoughtful as they

mused, for they felt there must be something for them to do.

"Are we to sit here forever?" asked one. "Shall we not become hard,

waiting here so long? It seems to me there must be something outside; I

feel sure of it."

Weeks passed by; the peas became yellow, and the shell became yellow.

"All the world is turning yellow, I suppose," said they--and perhaps

they were right.

Suddenly they felt a pull at the shell. It was torn off and held in

human hands; then it was slipped into the pocket of a jacket, together

with other full pods.

"Now we shall soon be let out," said one, and that was just what they

all wanted.

"I should like to know which of us will travel farthest," said the

smallest of the five; "and we shall soon see."

"What is to happen will happen," said the largest pea.

"Crack!" went the shell, and the five peas rolled out into the bright

sunshine. There they lay in a child's hand. A little boy was holding

them tightly. He said they were fine peas for his pea-shooter, and

immediately he put one in and shot it out.

"Now I am flying out into the wide world," said the pea. "Catch me if

you can." And he was gone in a moment.

"I intend to fly straight to the sun," said the second. "That is a shell

that will suit me exactly, for it lets itself be seen." And away he


"We will go to sleep wherever we find ourselves," said the next two; "we

shall still be rolling onwards." And they did fall to the floor and roll

about, but they got into the pea-shooter for all that. "We will go

farthest of any," said they.

"What is to happen will happen," exclaimed the last one, as he was shot

out of the pea-shooter. Up he flew against an old board under a garret

window and fell into a little crevice which was almost filled with moss

and soft earth. The moss closed itself about him, and there he lay--a

captive indeed, but not unnoticed by God.

"What is to happen will happen," said he to himself.

Within the little garret lived a poor woman, who went out to clean

stoves, chop wood into small pieces, and do other hard work, for she was

both strong and industrious. Yet she remained always poor, and at home

in the garret lay her only daughter, not quite grown up and very

delicate and weak. For a whole year she had kept her bed, and it seemed

as if she could neither die nor get well.

"She is going to her little sister," said the woman. "I had only the two

children, and it was not an easy thing to support them; but the good God

provided for one of them by taking her home to himself. The other was

left to me, but I suppose they are not to be separated, and my sick girl

will soon go to her sister in heaven."

All day long the sick girl lay quietly and patiently, while her mother

went out to earn money.

Spring came, and early one morning the sun shone through the little

window and threw his rays mildly and pleasantly over the floor of the

room. Just as the mother was going to her work, the sick girl fixed her

gaze on the lowest pane of the window. "Mother," she exclaimed, "what

can that little green thing be that peeps in at the window? It is moving

in the wind."

The mother stepped to the window and half opened it. "Oh!" she said,

"there is actually a little pea that has taken root and is putting out

its green leaves. How could it have got into this crack? Well, now, here

is a little garden for you to amuse yourself with." So the bed of the

sick girl was drawn nearer to the window, that she might see the budding

plant; and the mother went forth to her work.

"Mother, I believe I shall get well," said the sick child in the

evening. "The sun has shone in here so bright and warm to-day, and the

little pea is growing so fast, that I feel better, too, and think I

shall get up and go out into the warm sunshine again."

"God grant it!" said the mother, but she did not believe it would be so.

She took a little stick and propped up the green plant which had given

her daughter such pleasure, so that it might not be broken by the winds.

She tied the piece of string to the window-sill and to the upper part of

the frame, so that the pea tendrils might have something to twine round.

And the plant shot up so fast that one could almost see it grow from day

to day.

"A flower is really coming," said the mother one morning. At last she

was beginning to let herself hope that her little sick daughter might

indeed recover. She remembered that for some time the child had spoken

more cheerfully, and that during the last few days she had raised

herself in bed in the morning to look with sparkling eyes at her little

garden which contained but a single pea plant.

A week later the invalid sat up by the open window a whole hour, feeling

quite happy in the warm sunshine, while outside grew the little plant,

and on it a pink pea blossom in full bloom. The little maiden bent down

and gently kissed the delicate leaves. This day was like a festival to


"Our heavenly Father himself has planted that pea and made it grow and

flourish, to bring joy to you and hope to me, my blessed child," said

the happy mother, and she smiled at the flower as if it had been an

angel from God.

But what became of the other peas? Why, the one who flew out into the

wide world and said, "Catch me if you can," fell into a gutter on the

roof of a house and ended his travels in the crop of a pigeon. The two

lazy ones were carried quite as far and were of some use, for they also

were eaten by pigeons; but the fourth, who wanted to reach the sun,

fell into a sink and lay there in the dirty water for days and weeks,

till he had swelled to a great size.

"I am getting beautifully fat," said the pea; "I expect I shall burst at

last; no pea could do more than that, I think. I am the most remarkable

of all the five that were in the shell." And the sink agreed with the


But the young girl, with sparkling eyes and the rosy hue of health upon

her cheeks, stood at the open garret window and, folding her thin hands

over the pea blossom, thanked God for what He had done.