Course Hero. "Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) Study Guide." Course Hero. 6 Oct. 2017. Web. 14 Nov. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fairy-Tales-of-Hans-Christian-Andersen-Selected/>.
Course Hero. (2017, October 6). Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 14, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fairy-Tales-of-Hans-Christian-Andersen-Selected/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) Study Guide." October 6, 2017. Accessed November 14, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fairy-Tales-of-Hans-Christian-Andersen-Selected/.
Course Hero, "Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) Study Guide," October 6, 2017, accessed November 14, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fairy-Tales-of-Hans-Christian-Andersen-Selected/.
When his parents tell their boy the old man living across the street from them is very lonely, he takes one of his tin soldiers to the neighbor and strikes up a friendship. The old man lives in an old house that has many quaint features the boy finds most interesting, even though it looks out of place among all the much-newer buildings on that street.
Many inanimate objects, including the tin soldier, come to life in that house, as the old man pulls out memories and stories to tell the boy. In time the old man dies, the quaint old house is torn down, and the boy grows up and marries. He brings his young wife to the fine modern house he has bought that replaced his neighbor's old one, and she finds the tin soldier while planting a flower. Her husband recognizes it as the gift he had made to the old man many long years ago and tells his wife the story of the old house and the old man. The tin soldier remarks, "it is delightful not to be forgotten."
In this story, as in "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," Andersen uses a toy tin soldier to represent something enduring and sets it in contrast to something that is fleeting. The tin soldier endures as the old man dies and the boy grows up. But just as the old man found company in his memories, the young man's memories of childhood are awakened by the soldier. Memory is the constant in the face of the fleeting cycle of life.