Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Everything in the Right Place

Everything in the Right PlaceEverything in the Right Place

There was once a little goose-girl who was standing in the road, she barely had time to move when a baron came rushing by on his horse. She placed herself on the wall to keep out of his way. The Baron thought it would be funny to push her off into the ditch, which he did while saying, “Everything in its right place.” The goose-girl kept from falling into the water by grabbing onto a willow branch. She was about to fall again, but a hand reached down and picked her up saying, “Everything in its right place.” It was a peddler.

The peddler wanted to put the branch back on the tree, but not everything can be put back in its right place. The peddler stuck the branch in the ground and admonished it to grow, “Grow and thrive if you can, and produce a good flute for them yonder at the mansion.” The branch did grow into a tree, which the girl called her tree.

Six years passed and the Baron was out of the mansion. He had gambled and drunk away his wealth. A new baron was in the mansion. It was the very peddler who had saved the goose-girl and his wife was none-other than the goose girl herself. They were a happy couple. Cards were not allowed in the mansion. They were kind to others and read from the Bible. They had children.

A hundred years passed and the willow that had grown from the branch was large and old. The small pond was nothing more than a puddle. The peddler’s family still lived in the mansion, but the portraits of the peddler and his wife hung in the servants quarters. The great-grandchildren said, “Everything in its place.” They thought that since their great-grandparents had been a peddler and a goose-girl that they did not deserve to hang in the rest of the house. They said they weren’t really aprt of the family. They used the portraits for target practice.

The tutor at the house was the son of the local preacher. He was walking one day with a young lady of the house. They went to see their family’s willow tree. One of the rougher great-grandchildren broke off a branch from the tree. The young woman did not want him to. She knew the story of how this tree was their family symbol and how their great-grandparents had met.

The tutor made a flute out of the branch. That evening there was a party. The grand-sons could not play the flute. They said that the tutor could play the flute. Everyone waited on him. The tutor blew on the flute and it was loud. It was heard for some distance, but that’s not all that happened. The flute put things in their right place. The current baron was spirited out into the house of a peasant. Some people were sent to the pigsty. A noble family was put out of their carriage and in the back with the footman. The young girl was placed in the seat of honor, but that was all. The flute played no more as it had been returned to the tutor’s pocket. Everything in its right place.

One of the last things the flute did was replace the portraits of the peddler and his wife in a place of honor within the house. Everything was in its right place.

The End


Let’s speak of the mention of cards. This story says that the Devil invented cards to counteract the Bible. There is a lot of betting involved with playing cards, that doesn’t mean all card games are inherently evil. I have known people who would refuse to own playing cards or even touch them because they were evil, or so they said. Seriously, grown people refused to touch playing cards; I would understand if the cards had pictures of Satan all over the back, maybe, but as it seems, it’s a little strange.

There is a bit of lore going around. The castle Glamis has a colorful legend involving playing cards. Once the Lord of the castle starting playing cards with a mysterious stranger on Saturday evening. The stranger had brilliant rubies to offer. A servant came to remind the Lord of the castle that it was almost midnight, which would mean it would be Sunday and gambling should not be done on Sunday. The Lord waved the servant away. The next time the servant looked, it appeared as if the Lord was engulfed in flames in the room. It is said that the room has been walled up. To this day if you go around the outside of the castle and count the windows, they don’t match up with the amount of windows you would count from the inside of the castle.


Sometimes thing are not in their right place. It seems people who have power should not have power. It seems people who have money should not have money. That picture might be crooked. That person really shouldn’t be working in a convenience store and so on.

We don’t have a magic flute to set things to right. Sometimes the perceived right place isn’t the right place. Sometimes our judgement is clouded in regards to what is the right place and what is the wrong place.

This story is ultimately wishful thinking. We don’t have the power to go around putting everything as it should be. We also have to consider what is right. It may be right to us, but is it really right? Do we really know best? Who dictates what is right and what is wrong? I may think it’s right to have the mixer on the counter, while someone else thinks it should be in the cabinet. Who is right and how is that choice arrived at?


Don’t be a stuck up jerk.

Weigh In

If you had a magic flute that could put things to right, what would be changed in your life?

Do you think things turned out right in this story?


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