Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Happy Family

The Happy FamilyThe Happy Family

At one point in time, people planted Burdock. The purpose of planting Burdock was to lure large snails to live there. The reason one wanted to lure large snails to a burdock patch was so that they could be eaten. They would be boiled and placed upon a platter. The great house had been in a habit of gardening for the snails, but the practice fell out of favor, or the great house fell, the snails did not know.

The Burdock had been forgotten and it flourished. There was an entire Burdock forest, but not so many snails as there used to be. The snails didn’t know what being boiled and placed upon a platter meant. They thought it would be a great mark upon their character to be boiled and placed upon a platter.

As the population of snails had dwindled, a snail couple decided to adopt a regular snail as a child. He was not nearly as large as they were, but they would feign that they had seen some growth in him. After a time, it was decided that the young snail should marry. The older snails asked an ant. The ant said he could marry their queen, but the snails weren’t interested in having their son live in an ant hill.

They asked a gnat for a wife for their son and he said he did know of a single snail lady, a snady(I’m joking). This snail lady had her own house and lived a hundred man-steps away. The older snails said that she should come to them, and she did. The two young snails were married and they inherited the burdock forest. They had numerous children. Everyone was very happy and nobody was boiled and placed upon a silver platter.

The End

Observations

Yes, people eat snails. I don’t know why. I have never tasted a snail and have no idea if it’s any good, but in a survival situation, I would eat some snails. It’s definitely more of a European thing than an American thing, although that doesn’t stop fancy restaurants from serving Escargot, which is snails, if you didn’t know.

Themes

Sometimes there is this story that floats around your family and it sounds awesome, but it’s really not. These snails were all like, “Oh, yeah, grandpappy was boiled and put on a silver platter. It was so special.” In the South, for some reason, getting hit by a train used to be kind of cool. If you don’t think so, just watch some movies about the South back in the day, Fried Green Tomatoes and O Brother Where Art Thou? are just a couple of examples. Someone in my family got hit by a train back in the day. You know what happened to her? She died. It’s not cool. Why in the world people would promote some sort of fame for having something so unfortunate happen is beyond me. These snails were doing the same thing.

It’s just an idea that went down in family legend and it was terrible. One of my great-something-grandmothers who was half-Cherokee had to hide in a cornfield while bushwhackers burned down her house. It sounds kind of cool now, but it wasn’t cool. She was scared for her life and her house got burned down. As legend, it sounds neat, as fact, it’s terrible.

Overall

Do ants eat snails? I don’t see a marriage between an ant and a snail working out.

Weigh In

What crazy stories does your family have?

Would you eat a snail?

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