THE Brave Tin Soldier

THE Brave Tin Soldier

there were once five-and-twenty tin soldiers who were all brothers what they had been

made out of the same old tin spoon. They shouldered arms and looked straight before

them and wore a splendid uniform of red and blue, the first thing in the world they ever

heard were the words of tin soldiers uttered by a little boy who clapped his hands with

delight when the lid of the box in which they lay was taken off, they were given

to him for a birthday present, and he stood at the table to set them up. The soldiers

were all exactly alike except one who had only one leg; he had been left to the last

and then there was not enough of the melted tin to finish him, so they made him

to stand firmly on one leg, and this caused him to be very remarkable on the table

on which the tin soldiers stood was covered with other playthings, but the most

attractive to the eye was a pretty little paper castle through the small windows

the rooms could be seen in front of the castle, a number of little trees surrounded

a piece of looking glass that was intended to represent a transparent lake swan

made of wax swam on the lake and were reflected in it all; this was very pretty

but the prettiest of all was a tiny little lady who stood at the open door of the castle

she also was made of paper, and she wore a dress of clear muslin with a narrow blue

ribbon over her shoulders just like a scarf in front of these was fixed a glittering tinsel

rose as large as her whole face. The little lady was a dancer, and she stretched out

both her arms and raised one of her legs so high that the tin soldier could not see it

at all, and he thought that she, like himself had only one leg. That is the wife for me,

he thought, but she is too grand and lives in a castle; why only is a box to live in,

five and 20 of us all together? This is no place for her; still, I must try and make her


Then he laid himself at full length on the table behind a snuff-box that stood upon it

so that he could peep at the little delicate lady who continued to stand on one leg

without losing her balance when evening came, the other tin soldiers were all placed

in the box, and the people of the house went to bed. Then the playthings began to have

their own games together to pay visits, have sham fights, and give balls.

The tin soldiers rattled in their box; they wanted to get out and join the amusements,

but they could not open the lid; the nutcrackers played leapfrog, and the pencil jumped

about the table; there was such a noise that the canary woke up and began to talk,

and in poetry, too, only the tin soldier and the dancer remained in their places;

she stood on tiptoe with her legs stretched out as firmly as he did on his one leg;

he never took his eyes from her for even a moment; the clock struck twelve, and with

a bounce up sprang the lid of the snuff-box, but instead of snuff, there jumped up

a little black goblin for the snuff-box was a toy puzzle tin soldier said

“the Goblin don’t  wish for what does not belong to you,”

but the tin soldier pretended not to hear very well.

wait till tomorrow, then,” said the Goblin;

when the children came in the next morning, they placed the tin soldier in the window;

now whether it was the Goblin who did it or the draft is not known, but the window flew

open and out fell that in soldier heels overhead from the third story into the street

below; it was a terrible fall, for he came headed downwards, his helmet and his

bayonet stuck in between the flagstones and his one leg up in the air, the servant maid

and the little boy went downstairs directly to look for him, but he was nowhere to be

seen, although once they nearly trod on him, if he had called out Here I am, it would

have been all right, but he was too proud to cry out helped while he wore a uniform

presently it began to rain, and the drops fell faster and faster till there was a heavy

shower, when it was over, two boys happened to pass by, and one of them said

“Look, there is a tin soldier; he ought to have a boat to sail in.”

so they made a boat out of the newspaper and placed the tin soldier in it, and sent

him sailing down the gutter while the two boys ran by the side of it and clapped

their hands, good gracious, what large waves arose in that gutter and how fast

the stream rolled on, for the rain had been very heavy; the paper boat rocked

up and down and turned itself round sometimes so quickly that the tin soldier

trembled, yet he remained firm; his countenance did not change; he looked straight

before him and shouldered his musket.

Suddenly the boat shot under a bridge which formed part of a drain, and then it was

as dark as the tin soldiers box

“where am I going now?” thought he; this is too black goblins fault, I’m sure, oh well if the little lady were only here with me in the boat, I should not care for any darkness.”

Suddenly there appeared a great Water Rat living in the drain.

“Of your passport,” asked the rat, “give it to me at once.”

but the tin soldier remained silent and held his musket tighter than ever; the boat

sailed on, and the rat followed it. How he did gnash his teeth and cry out to the bits

of wood and straw,

“stop him, stop him; he has not paid the toll and has not shown his pass.”

but the stream rushed on stronger and stronger; the tin soldier could already see

daylight shining where the arch ended, then he heard a roaring sound quite terribly

enough to frighten the bravest man; at the end of the tunnel, the drain fell into a large

canal over a steep place which made it as dangerous for him as a waterfall would be

to us, he was too close to it to stop, so the boat rushed on, and the poor tin soldier

could only hold himself as stiffly as possible without moving an eyelid to show that

he was not afraid; the boat whirled around three or four times and then filled with

water to the very edge, nothing could save it from sinking; he now stood up to his

neck in the water while deeper and deeper sank the boat and the paper became soft

and loose with the wet till, at last, the water closed over the soldier’s head

he thought of the elegant little dancer whom he should never see again and the words

of the song sounded in his ears, “Farewell, warrior ever brave,” drifting onward

to thy grave, and the paper boat fell to pieces, and the soldier sank into the water

and immediately afterward was swallowed up by a great fish; oh, how dark it was

inside the fish, a great deal darker than in the tunnel and narrower too, but the tin

soldier continued firm and lay at full length shouldering his musket, the fish swam

to and fro, making the most wonderful movements, but at last, he became quite still,

after a while, a flash of lightning seemed to pass through him, and then the daylight

approached, and a voice cried out, “I declare here is the tin soldier,” the fish had been

caught, taken to the market, and sold to the cook, who took him into the kitchen

and cut him open with a large knife; she picked up the soldier and held him by

the waist between her finger and thumb and carried him into the room; they were all

anxious to see this wonderful soldier who had traveled about inside a fish, but he was

not at all proud; they placed him on the table and how many curious things do happen

in the world! There he was in the very same room from the window of which he had

fallen; there were the same children, the same playthings Stanley on the table,

and the pretty castle with the elegant little dancer at the door, she still balanced

herself on one leg and held up the other so she was as firm as himself. It’s touched

the tin soldier so much to see her that he almost wept tin tears, but he kept them back

he only looked at her, and they both remained silent presently.

One of the little boys took up the tin soldier and threw him into the stove; he had no

reason for doing so; therefore, it must have been the fault of the black goblin who 

lived in the snuff box, the flames lighted the tin soldier as he stood; the heat was very

terrible, but whether it proceeded from the actual fire or from the fire of love,

he could not tell.

Then he could see that the bright colors were faded from his uniform, but whether

they had been washed off during his journey or from the effects of his sorrow,

no one could say; he looked at the little lady, and she looked at him.

He felt himself melting away, but he still remained firm with his gun on his shoulder;

suddenly, the door of the room flew open, and the draught of the air caught up

the little dancer; she fluttered like a sylph right into the stove by the side of

the tin soldier and was instantly in flames and was; gone the tin soldier melted down

into a lump, and the next morning when the maidservant took the ashes out

of the stove, she found him in the shape of a little tin heart, but of the little dancer,

nothing remained but the tinsel Rose which was burnt black as a cinder

The End