Course Hero. "Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen (Selected) Study Guide." Course Hero. 6 Oct. 2017. Web. 23 July 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 July 23, 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 July 23, 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 July 23, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fairy-Tales-of-Hans-Christian-Andersen-Selected/.
A toy top has fallen in love with a red Moroccan leather ball, even though the ball is quite vain over the elegant materials of which she has been made. But these toys were designed to be played with, and one day the ball gets bounced so high she lands in the roof gutter. Out of reach, she must stay there. Meanwhile, the top, instead of spinning and jumping, thinks only of the missing ball. Not being able to have the ball makes him love her all the more.
One day five years later, the top is propelled into the dustbin, where all kinds of rubbish from the gutter has been gathered. There he finds the ball, or rather, what's left of her. Her fine red Moroccan leather is ruined. Even so, her vanity hasn't diminished, and she begins telling the top all about her elegant makeup. Before the top has anything to say to her, he is picked up out of the bin, cleaned up, and given a new coat of paint so he can spin and jump as well as ever. The ball, on the other hand, is past repair, and nobody even notices her.
The figure of the "old maid," or unmarried older woman, is often the butt of jokes in society. A stereotypical old maid flirts and flutters in grotesque parody of the young and beautiful woman she once might have been. Time and age work their ravages upon every young beauty, and the attention once easily gained is quickly gone. The ever-observant Andersen touches upon this theme here and in other stories, such as "The Fir Tree" and "The Snow Man."