Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

A Story

A StoryA Story

There was once a preacher who got on his pulpit and told everyone that they were going to Hell. Every man was wicked.

That evening the wife of the preacher had something on her mind. She could not fathom that so many people were wicked. She said she could not let even the most wicked person burn forever and didn’t see how God could do so.

Time went on and she died. The preacher was sad, but her image appeared before his bed one evening. The preacher asked her what he might do to help her achieve eternal rest. She told him that he would need to give her a hair of a sinner who would burn forever. The preacher and his dead wife set off on a journey to find a hair from a damned sinner.

They first visited a man who was overly proud of all he had. The wife asked the preacher if this was the one, but he said it was not. He was simply a fool.

They next visited a miser. Was he the one? No, he was not the one.

They then visited a man in a mental institution who beat others and kicked them. He was not the one. He was simply man.

The two continued on, but after visiting mansion after mansion and hovel after hovel, they could not find a person doomed to suffer eternal torment. The morning came and the preacher begged God to let his wife have eternal rest because he could not find a person who would suffer eternal torment.

The wife told the preacher she had her rest. She came to him because he thought everyone was so evil. He now knew men and that they were not all evil. He awoke in the morning and his wife was alive. God had sent him a dream.

The End


It was all a dream.


There are two things you should remember from this story. The first is that no man can judge another man. It is up to God to judge the people of the world. You can’t condemn a person yourself to be eternally damned. It is God’s responsibility. The second thing is that no one, NO ONE, is all bad. There isn’t one person, not a single solitary soul, who is all bad. Hitler wanted to go to art school, capisce? Every person, no matter who they are, has good and bad inside of them. We each have the same potential to be good and to be evil.

This preacher couldn’t find a purely evil man because one didn’t exist. Here he had been saying everyone was going to Hell, but what did he know? He may have been a preacher, but he wasn’t looking inside the hearts of his congregation. There were people there who had done bad things, but those same people were also good people.

This dream was a wake-up call from God.


It’s another argument about the nature of God. Does he demand that sin be punished over loving his children?

Weigh In

Is God a forgiving God?

Does God demand justice?


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