Little Ida’s Flowers

Little Ida's FlowersLittle Ida’s Flowers

So what do the flowers do when you’re not looking?

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Ida. She was in her home. She noticed that her flowers were looking a little limp. She asked a student sitting on the couch why this was. He said it was because they had been dancing at the ball all night before. He went on the explain that at night when people were asleep the flowers left their places and went to a ball. They danced all night. Two large roses were the king and the queen of the flowers. They would go to the castle and dance in the throne room. When anyone looked they would hide behind the long curtains. Ida asked that if even the flowers in the botanical gardens went and the student said yes. He said that butterflies were also flowers that were allowed to leave their stems.

The lawyer who happened to also be sitting on the couch thought all of this was nonsense, but the student told Ida to never mind the mean old man. Ida decided that since her flowers had a hangover she would treat them nicely. She put them in her doll’s bed. The doll was named Sophy and Sophy didn’t seem to happy about being displaced.

That night the girl crept out of her room and found that the flowers were indeed dancing, including her sick flowers. They looked better than before. Her doll Sophy was also there. The flowers thanked Sophy for the use of her bed. Sophy ended up being ok with the whole thing. They told her that they would die tomorrow and Sophy must let Ida know to give them a proper burial. Ida watched more and saw the king and queen rose. She also saw many other flowers. There was something there that acted and looked much like the  lawyer. The flowers never noticed Ida.

The next day her flowers were dead just as they said. So she buried them in the back yard with the aid of her cousins.

The End

Little Ida's FlowersObservations

I like flowers as much as the next person, but I think this story is kind of stupid. First of all, I don’t think Ida is as young as the illustration depicts. I think she’s a little older. I kind of get the idea that she’s flirting with this student, but I could be way off base on that one. Flowers don’t go anywhere when you sleep, yes, I am aware this story is a fiction. This entire story is about flowers getting up and dancing.

It’s clear the flowers Ida have a hangover. They partied all night long and then they don’t feel well the next day. Actually, they’re flowers and flowers begin to wither after you pick them. Depending on the type of flower you pick, it can happen fairly quickly. Take the passion-flower for example–you pick a passion-flower and it will have withered up in a matter of a couple of hours, not days like roses.

Why is a lawyer and a student at this girl’s house? She’s obviously a more well-to-do child because she speaks not only of the palace, but also of the botanical gardens. The poorest of the poor didn’t really get to the botanical gardens all that much. Her parents were probably important in her community for the lawyer and the student to be visiting. The student must have a soft place in his heart for children to tell such a story, but Charles Dodgson also had a soft place in his heart for children and all kinds of rumors fly about what he actually did with children.

There is probably a lot of flower symbology in this story. Flowers represent all kinds of things, or people have caused flowers to represent all kinds of things. The rose alone has a very rich history of symbolism, which can change depending on the color of the rose.

Little Ida's FlowersThemes

Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.

Flowers have really short lives. They bloom for only a small window of time during the year. They have complex lives though, even though most people would just say, “Ah, look at the pretty flowers.” Without flowers, we’d all be screwed. That okra you like to eat is the result of a flower. Those berries? Those apples? Those watermelons? That squash? You would starve without flowers. We would be screwed. They’re actually very important. If plants don’t have sex, we die. There is a large amount of importance placed on the short amount of time that flowers are alive.

Is it any different from us? We don’t live very long looking at the big scheme of things. Even if everyone suddenly averaged a hundred years on the earth, that’s still not a very long time. In that short amount of time we’re expected to grow up, get a job, have a family, and otherwise accomplish things in life. We have to cram so much in a short period of time, but it’s not all work, we know that.

While we can, we’re supposed to enjoy life. Remember, “Men are that they might have joy.” These flowers, although they live such a short time, take the time to be serious, doing serious flower things, but they also take time to party. Life is part work, but also part enjoyment. You have to do both. You have to work, but you also have to play.

We can take a lesson from Ida’s dancing flowers–accomplish things in life, but also have fun.


I’m not overly impressed with this story, but I do like the idea of looking at the short lives of flowers.

dancing flowers, dead flowers, doll named sophy, flowers bloom, flowers die, Hans Christian Andersen!!, ida, lawyer, Little Ida’s Flowers, Little Ida’s Flowers han christian andersen, rose, sophy, student
Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian


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