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Dr. Hope Presents

Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales

The Darning-Needle

THERE was once a darning-needle who thought herself so fine that she fancied she must be fit for embroidery. “Hold me tight,” she would say to the fingers, when they took her up, “don’t let me fall; if you do I shall never be found again, I am so very fine.”

“That is your opinion, is it?” said the fingers, as they seized her round the body.

“See, I am coming with a train,” said the darning-needle, drawing a long thread after her; but there was no knot in the thread.

The fingers then placed the point of the needle against the cook’s slipper. There was a crack in the upper leather, which had to be sewn together.

“What coarse work!” said the darning-needle, “I shall never get through. I shall break!—I am breaking!” and sure enough she broke. “Did I not say so?” said the darning-needle, “I know I am too fine for such work as that.”

“This needle is quite useless for sewing now,” said the fingers; but they still held it fast, and the cook dropped some sealing-wax on the needle, and fastened her handkerchief with it in front.

“So now I am a breast-pin,” said the darning-needle; “I knew very well I should come to honor some day: merit is sure to rise;” and she laughed, quietly to herself, for of course no one ever saw a darning-needle laugh. And there she sat as proudly as if she were in a state coach, and looked all around her. “May I be allowed to ask if you are made of gold?” she inquired of her neighbor, a pin; “you have a very pretty appearance, and a curious head, although you are rather small. You must take pains to grow, for it is not every one who has sealing-wax dropped upon him;” and as she spoke, the darning-needle drew herself up so proudly that she fell out of the handkerchief right into the sink, which the cook was cleaning.

 “Now I am going on a journey,” said the needle, as she floated away with the dirty water, “I do hope I shall not be lost.” But she really was lost in a gutter. “I am too fine for this world,” said the darning-needle, as she lay in the gutter; “but I know who I am, and that is always some comfort.” So the darning-needle kept up her proud behavior, and did not lose her good humor. Then there floated over her all sorts of things,—chips and straws, and pieces of old newspaper.

 “See how they sail,” said the darning-needle; “they do not know what is under them. I am here, and here I shall stick. See, there goes a chip, thinking of nothing in the world but himself— only a chip. There’s a straw going by now; how he turns and twists about! Don’t be thinking too much of yourself, or you may chance to run against a stone. There swims a piece of newspaper; what is written upon it has been forgotten long ago, and yet it gives itself airs. I sit here patiently and quietly. I know who I am, so I shall not move.”


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