THERE was once a darning-needle, who thought herself so fine, she imagined she
was an embroidering needle.
"Take care, and mind you hold me tight!" she said to the Fingers that took her
out. "Don't let me fall! If I fall on the ground I shalt certainly never be
found again, for I am so fine!"
"That's as it may be," said the Fingers; and they grasped her round the body.
"See, I'm coining with a train!" said the Darning-needle, and she drew a long
thread after her, but there was no knot in the thread.
The Fingers pointed the needle just at the cook's slipper, in which the upper
leather had burst, and was to be sewn together.
"That's vulgar work," said the Darning-needle. "I shall never get through. I'm
breaking! I'm breaking!" And she really broke. "Did I not say so?" said the
Darning-needle; "I'm too fine!"
"Now it's quite useless," said the Fingers; but they were
 obliged to hold her fast, all the same; for the cook dropped some sealing-wax
upon the needle, and pinned her handkerchief together with it in front.
"So, now I'm a breast-pin!" said the Darning-Needle. "I knew very well that I
should come to honor: when one is something, one comes to something!"
And she laughed quietly to herself—and one can never see when a darning-needle
laughs. There she sat, as proud as if she was in a state coach, and looked all
"May I be permitted to ask if you are of gold?" she inquired of the pin, her
neighbor. "You have a very pretty appearance, and a peculiar head, but it is
only little. You must take pains to grow, for it's not every one that has
sealing-wax dropped upon him."
And the Darning-needle drew herself up so proudly that she fell out of the
handkerchief right into the sink, which the cook was rinsing out.
"Now we're going on a journey," said the Darning-needle. "If I only don't get
But she really was lost.
"I'm too fine for this world," she observed, as she lay in the gutter. "But I
know who I am, and there's always something in that!"
So the Darning-needle kept her proud behavior, and did not lose her good humor.
And things of many kinds swam over her, chips and straws and pieces of old
"Only look bow they sail!" said the Darning-needle. "They don't know what is
under them! I'm here, I remain firmly here. See, there goes a chip thinking of
nothing in the world but of himself—of a chip! There's a straw going by now.
Now he turns! how he twirls about! Don't think only of yourself, you might
easily run up against a stone. There swims a bit of newspaper. What's written
upon it has long been forgotten, and yet it gives itself airs. I sit quietly and
patiently here. I know who I am, and I shall remain what I am."
One day something lay close beside her that glittered splendidly; then the
Darning-needle believed that it was a diamond; but it was a bit of broken
bottle; and because it
 shone, the Darning-needle spoke to it, introducing herself as a breast-pin.
"I suppose you are a diamond?" she observed.
"Why, yes, something of that kind."
And then each believed the other to be a very valuable thing; and they began
speaking about the world, and how very conceited it was.
"I have been in a lady's box," said the Darning-needle, "and this lady was a
cook. She had five lingers on each hand, and I never saw anything so conceited
as those five fingers. And yet they were only there that they might take me cut
of the box and put me back into it."
"Were they of good birth?" asked the Bit of Bottle.
"No, indeed" replied the Darning-needle, "but very haughty. There were five
brothers, all of the finger family. They kept very proudly together, though they
were of different lengths: the outermost, the thumbling, was short and fat; he
walked out in front of the ranks, and only had one joint in his back, and could
only make a single bow; but he said that if he were hacked off a man, that man
was useless for service in war. Daintymouth, the second finger, thrust himself
into sweet and sour, pointed to sun and moon, and gave the impression when they
wrote. Longman, the third, looked at all the others over his shoulder.
Goldborder, the fourth, went about with a golden belt round his waist; and
little Playman did nothing at all, and was proud of it. There was nothing but
bragging among them, and therefore I went away."
"And now we sit here and glitter!" said the Bit of Bottle.
At that moment more water came into the gutter, so that it overflowed, and the
Bit of Bottle was carried away.
"So he is disposed of," observed the Darning-needle. "I remain here, I am too
fine. But, that's my pride, and my pride is honorable." And proudly she sat
there, and had many great thoughts. "I could almost believe I had been born of
a sunbeam, I'm so fine! It really appears as if the sunbeams were always seeking
for me under the water. Ah! I'm so fine that my mother cannot find me. If I
had my old eye, which broke off, I think I should cry; but, no, I should not do
that: it's not genteel to cry."
 One day a couple of street boys lay grubbing in the gutter, where they sometimes
found old nails, farthings, and similar treasures. It was dirty work, but they
took great delight in it.
"O!" cried one, who had pricked himself with the Darning-needle, "there's a
fellow for you!"
"I'm not a fellow; I'm a young lady!" said the Darning needle.
But nobody listened to her. The sealing-wax had come off; and she had turned
black; but black makes one look slender, and she thought herself finer even than
"Here comes an egg-shell sailing along!" said the boys; and they stuck the
Darning-needle fast in the egg-shell.
"White walls, and black myself! that looks well" remarked the Darning-needle.
"Now one can see me. I only hope I shall not be seasick!" But she was not seasick
at all. "It is good against seasickness, if one has a steel stomach, and does
not forget that one is a little more than an ordinary person Now my seasickness
is over. The finer one is, the more one can bear."
"Crack!" went the egg-shell, for a wagon went over her.
"Good heavens, how it crushes one!" said the Darning-needle. "I'm getting
seasick now,—I'm quite sick."
But she was not really sick, though the wagon went over her; she lay there at
full length, and there she may lie.
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