Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Goblin and the Huckster

The Goblin and the HucksterThe Goblin and the Huckster

There was once a student who rented a room from a huckster. The huckster also housed a goblin. The goblin liked living with the huckster because he had jam and was rather loyal to the huckster as a whole.

One day the student needed some candles from the store the huckster managed. He went down to get the candles. He saw the huckster had been wrapping items in a book of poetry. The student knew it to be a special book of poetry and bargained with the huckster to take it away so it would no longer be dismembered as wrapping paper.

The student joked that the cask in the corner did not know what poetry was and everyone had a good laugh. That evening, the goblin snuck into the room of the huckster and his wife and took the wife’s tongue. He laid it upon the cask, which immediately began talking. The goblin asked the cask if it knew what poetry was. The cask said that it did know what poetry was; poetry was the stuff that stood in the corner of the newspaper.

The goblin took the tongue away and tried it on several objects. He then went to the student’s room, where he round out what poetry really was. It was beauty and all manner of wonderful things. The goblin desired the world of poetry very much and wished to stay, but he also really liked jam.

After some time, there was a fire. Each person in the house rushed to save the most important thing. The goblin rushed to save the book of poetry. He devoured what was written, but still loved jam. He would have to divide himself between his love of jam and his love of poetry.


Do people really like jam that much? I am not a jam liker. I like jam ok, but I wouldn’t ever be like, “Holy crap! I need some jam right now!” Would a person really be that divided over jam? Chocolate maybe, but not jam.

What in the heck is a huckster? A huckster is a person who sells small items in a shop or door to door. Basically, this guy had a small shop, most likely in the front room of his house.


The story itself makes the observation that we as humans are all very much like the goblin. We love the uplifting things in our lives, such as poetry, but can’t do without the based needs, such as jam. This story isn’t really about poetry and jam; this story is about how we balance the higher things in our lives with our based needs. We cannot live without food, even if we might like to in order to pursue our careers in music for eighteen hours a day.

We take take this lesson deeper and say that we may want to be religious and angels of God, but underneath we’re still human and subject to sin and baser urges. We are divided in our natures. We may want to be Godlike, but we’re still animals underneath all our clothes.


What became of the student?

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