Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Flax

The FlaxThe Flax

One day some flax and a fern were talking. The flax said that people thought he looked exceedingly fine and could be made into cloth some day and it all seemed exciting. The fern said the flax had not seen very much of the world.

“Snip, Snap, Snurre,

Basse Lurre:

The Song is Ended.”

The flax said the day was not ended, but soon people came to cut the flax down. The flax was roasted, broken, and put on a spinning wheel. It knew pain and suffering. It said times could not always be happy, but it said the fern was right.

“Snip, Snap, Snurre,

Basee Lurre:”

The flax said the song was not ended though. He was now a piece of white linen. He was watched over and cared for. He was washed. He was enjoyed.

Time passed and the piece of linen was cut into smaller pieces and pierced with a needle. It was made into garments which no one likes to name, perhaps underwear. Time passed and the pieces fell apart. The flax always had optimism about what was going on. It was torn to pieces and made into paper.

On that paper was printed poetry and words of knowledge, which was enjoyed. The flax said that each time he thought it was over, something greater came to him. One day the paper was taken to a printer. The words on the paper were printed on other paper and turned into books. The flax was happy for this, but it was bundled up with other papers and placed in a pile.

The papers were then taken to be burned. The flax did not find this pleasant. As the sparks rose up in the sky children looked in wonder over them. The pieces of flax were lighter and more airy than it had ever been as little blue flowers.

The children sang:

“Snip, Snap, Snurre,

Basse Lurre:

The Song is ended.”

The flax knew better. The song was never ended.

The End


Yes, flax can be made into clothes. I don’t think it’s as common as it used to be though. We’re cotton people for the most part. I would say that cotton takes more labor to process than flax, but I’m not entirely sure on that.

I tried to determine if “basse lurre” actually meant anything, but I’m not sure that it does. “Basse” means “low” in French, but that’s about it. I’m thinking the rhyme is mostly nonsense.


Life goes on. The flax went from one thing to another to another. It still existed even when it changed forms. You know what else still exists, always? Carbon. We’re made of carbon, primarily. The carbon we’re made of has been around, and around, and around, and around. Matter cannot be destroyed. You can burn it. You can change it. You can make it a different color, but you cannot destroy it. What you are, will always be there.

We don’t know enough to know if we’re conscious through our entire existence. We don’t remember being the carbon of a rock or whatever. We have no idea if we’ll have consciousness going forward. Many of us believe in an afterlife, but we don’t know for sure. We may not be aware as the flax was as it transformed once again.

Even if we’re not aware, the show goes on. Matter continues. Life continues.


It’s the circle of life.

Weigh In

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What do you think about the circle of life?


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