Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Story of the Year

The Story of the YearThe Story of the Year

There were once city sparrows who found it cold in the city. There was no grass and snow lay all around. The people had said it was the new year, but it was still cold. The year had not begun because spring wasn’t there yet. They decided to travel out to the country to see if it was any warmer there.

It turns out it wasn’t any warmer in the country and it was still winter there as well. There was an old man sitting on a hill. The sparrows wondered at who he was. He was old man winter as the raven said. He was waiting for spring to come.

Spring did some, two children a boy and a girl, were carried upon the backs of storks to old man winter. He met the two and then he was gone. The children grew as spring grew. They played and scattered flowers everywhere. They scattered flowers upon the apple trees and upon the ground. The whole season was a time to play for them.

When summer came, they were grown, and married. They spent time in the summer watching the summer plants and summer flowers.

Autumn came and the wife longed to see spring again. The beautiful colors in the changing leaves had to be her flowers. She soon died. The man was left alone. He soon became old man winter himself. He waited for spring to come in again on the same hill that he had met the previous old man winter. When spring came, he too was gone, gone away to be with his wife.

The sparrows still waited for spring and they still thought man’s calendar was incorrect. The year started with spring and that was that.

The End


Old man winter, we’ve heard about him, but usually we don’t hear about him having a wife. I thought the wife was a rather nice touch.

Do winter and his wife not have children? Where do the spring children come from?

This story seems to be a combination of Old Man Winter and the Year. The year starts out as a baby at the new year, but grows into an old man by the end of the year.


This is a story about the year, but it’s also a story about life and death, specifically the cycles of life. Things grow and die within the space of a year, but we do not. Our lives are longer than one year, but we have the same seasons. We’re born, we enjoy childhood. We enjoy the summer days of our lives. We then move on to the Autumn days of our lives. Then we end up in winter, the twilight days of our lives.

We find meaning in comparing our lives to the cycle of the year. A person has to admit that the seasons of the year and the seasons of our lives are fairly similar.

On a lighter note, this story is also about how strange it is that our year, at least in the northern hemisphere, begins in the middle of winter.


Poor Old Man Winter, all alone on a hill.

Weigh In

What do you think about the reflections of the year and our lives?

Do you think Old Man Winter was lonely?


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