Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Top and Ball

The Top and BallThe Top and Ball

There was once a top and a ball. The top loved the ball ans asked the ball if they might be married. The ball said she could not because she was practically engaged to a sparrow. Every time she was thrown up into the air, the Sparrow would say, “Will you…,” but that was all he could get out before the ball fell back to the Earth.

One day the ball was tossed up and up, on the ninth toss she didn’t come back down. The stop still loved the ball, but over time his love waned. He was painted in gold. One day he too was tossed up and up. He came to rest in the gutter. There he looked about him and saw all manner of things including something that looked like his old love the ball. After speaking to the ball, it was evident that it was the same ball. She went on about being made in Morocco and having a Spanish cork inside of her. Someone came looking for the top, but he didn’t say anything about the ball.

“He spoke not a word about his old love; for that soon died away. When the beloved object has lain for five years in a gutter and has been drenched through, no one cares to know her again on meeting her in a dust-bin. “

The End


Toys just weren’t as technologically advanced as they are today. If you were a kid back in the day, you probably had a top and a ball. You had to use your imagination. Losing one of these items would have been quite a blow because you probably didn’t have many toys. Wooden toys, like the top, probably was, would have been repainted and used for years. The ball would have eventually rotted away, but I’m getting the sense that this ball was not an air-filled ball and was filled purely with the cork. It would have rotted. Balls have been around for a long, long time, but you just don’t find many of them around that are that old because they rotted away. They had coverings of cloth or leather and they were kicked, batted, or whatever, so much that there was nothing but rotted junk left.


First off, the ball is terribly proud of herself. She thinks herself too good for the top and wants to marry a sparrow. I don’t know how this would have worked out, but whatever. She thinks she’s going to be this beautiful Moroccan ball forever, well, we see how that turned out didn’t we?

The top seems a bit harsh. This entire story seems a bit harsh. The ball ended up in the gutter, by accident, where she rotted and got rained on. The top sees this woman as his love, but takes a second look at her and says, “You know what, she looks a little used up,” then he shrugs his shoulders, metaphorically, of course, since tops don’t have shoulders, and goes on with his life.

Here’s the thing–you can be happy with any number of people in your life. There isn’t a “one” out there. Yes, there are people who are better for you than other people, but there isn’t this mythical being who is your one true love and blah, blah, blah. If you try hard enough, you can make a relationship work with anybody, no matter the differences or appearances, but both of you have to be trying. One person trying doesn’t cut it.

I say this because the top could have been happy with anybody. The ball could have been happy with anybody. The top had this love for the ball though. I’m not going to make light of this love. The top had a thing for this ball, a major thing. You may be able to be happy with anybody, but sometimes, there are people, whom you are fond for, that don’t exit your mind, ever. You may know it’s never going to work out. You may know that it will never, never happen, but you can’t help them having a special place in your heart, even if you don’t technically love them as you once did, if you ever did. That’s the kind of love I’m getting from the top. The top is always going to have a place in his heart for the ball.

If that’s the kind of love we’re talking about, why was the top so quick to dismiss the ball when she didn’t look as she once did? Seems kind of shallow. That’s like saying, “I finally got a chance to be with Brad Pitt, but he’s not as hot as he used to be, so I’m gonna pass.” Does it seriously matter if Brad Pitt isn’t as hot as he used to be? He’s still Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt isn’t my thing, but if we were talking about my thing, I wouldn’t care what he looked like or how old he was if I actually got a chance to pursue it.

Basically, this story, to me is saying, you may have worshiped someone, but after you had found they lived in the gutter for a while and aged, they’re not as appealing as they used to be. I’m sorry, if you really loved someone like that, you wouldn’t dismiss them just because they had been living the hard life for a while. You would still care for them, even if they did look like twenty miles of hard road.

To me, this top is kind of a jerk, but, then again, so is the ball for ignoring him in the first place.


Maybe they do deserve each other.

Weigh In

Would looks override the chance at finally having “that person”?

Do you think the top was more put-off by the ball’s looks or by her personality?


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