“The Tin Soldier” or “The Fearless Tin Soldier” is a children’s story by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. The story was first published in 1838, and has since been translated into several languages and adapted for film and theater. The story has a tin soldier as its protagonist and motivates us to reflect on the acceptance of differences, the fight against adversity and love.
A story to reflect with children
Once upon a time there was a boy who had a lot of toys, but one day his grandfather gave him a very special gift. It was a beautiful wooden box, which contained in its interior a series of tin soldiers made by hand based on fire and metal. They all carried their rifles on their shoulders, wore splendid red jackets and blue trousers, and kept their eyes straight ahead. Pitched battle between parents during a children’s game.
– Tin soldiers! Thank you very much, grandfather! – said the boy happily.
Immediately the little boy carefully took all the soldiers out of the box, one by one, and deposited them on his desk as if they were in formation. How elegant they looked! They looked like a real army. However, when taking the last of the little soldiers out of the box, the little boy realized that he was missing a leg. What happened was that when the craftsmen were melting down the last of the soldiers, they ran out of lead and had to lose a leg.
The little boy was not sad about it, but he decided to place it in the most special place in his room: he placed it in front of one of his best toys, a beautiful paper castle where a beautiful ballerina dressed in a delicate pink tulle dress lived. The ballerina stood on one leg with her arms outstretched, she looked so beautiful that the little soldier when he saw her did not even notice that it was a ballet pose and believed that she was missing a leg, just like him.
Since then, when the little boy went to sleep, the little soldier spent long hours looking at the ballerina, oblivious to the rest of the toys in the room. In fact, while the other toys were jumping and having fun, the little soldier only had eyes for his ballerina:
– She is so beautiful and looks so much like me! – The little soldier thought every time he saw her.
However, among the toys there was a very unique one that did not lose foot or step to the tin soldier. It was about a goblin locked in a surprise box, from which he used to jump to scare all the toys that came near. One day, the bad-tempered goblin said to the little soldier:
– Why are you staring at me?
The little soldier didn’t answer him, preferring to look away and maintain his composure.
– Oh! Do you think you’re very smart? Face the consequences! – the goblin threatened the little soldier.
That incident would not have had greater significance if it had not been for the fact that one afternoon, the boy decided to change the tin soldier’s place, placing him with the rest of his companions, so that they would go to fight at the front. While he was organizing them, he placed the tin soldier on the edge of the window. And, mysteriously, when the boy looked up, the little soldier was gone. He searched every corner of his room but did not find the soldier, and he thought that perhaps he could have fallen to the street with a gust of wind.
However, it had actually been the jack-in-the-box goblin who had thrown him out the window without anyone seeing him. The little boy couldn’t go down to look for the little soldier because the weather was bad and the rain was hitting the front of his house hard:
– When the rain stops you will look for him – his mother told him.
But some children, who were playing in the street in the rain, went ahead and found the little soldier under the window. Excited, they decided to play with him:
– We will make a paper boat for you to navigate! – suggested one of the children.
In this way, they took an old newspaper, made a little boat and, taking advantage of the fact that the rain had formed small streams on the sidewalks, they placed the little soldier on the paper boat so that he could navigate them. The little soldier quickly ended up in a sewer.
– My God! Where will I end up? What will be of me? None of this would matter to me if the beautiful dancer was with me – the little soldier thought dejectedly.
Meanwhile, the little boat, which was made of paper, was falling apart, so the little soldier ended up being dragged with force by the water. Thus he continued sailing without being able to stop, until he reached the sea. Shortly before the soldier reached the bottom, a very large fish swallowed him. Inside the fish there was only silence and darkness, but the little soldier was brave and fearless.
Very soon he fell asleep in the stomach of the fish. However, his tranquility did not last long because the fish had been caught and he was already on his way to the city market.
As luck would have it, the boy’s mother decided that she was going to cook fresh fish that day, so she went to the market and bought that fish. When he got home and began to clean the fish, he discovered that inside was a tin soldier very similar to the one his son had lost. He immediately called the boy to tell him the good news.
The little boy was very happy to have the soldier again, he placed him on his desk, right in front of the window and went down to dinner. A moment later, a strong gust of wind blew open the window and threw the tin soldier straight into the room’s fireplace that was lit.
The poor little soldier began to slowly melt under the heat of the flames. He was in a lot of pain but since he could see his dancer, he felt relieved. Suddenly a new gust of wind pushed the paper ballerina into the fire and, in a singular flutter that seemed like a magnificent ballet performance, the ballerina ended up beside the little soldier in the flames. However, they had enough time to look at each other before the fire finished devouring them.
The next morning, when the fire had died down, the boy found under the ashes a piece of a heart made of molten lead, which seemed to throw off sparkles of glitter and fabrics of tulle and silk.