Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

She Was Good for Nothing

She Was Good for NothingShe Was Good for Nothing

Once a little boy was taking a bit of something to his mother. That bit of something happened to be of the alcoholic nature. On the way home, he was stopped by the mayor who said that his mother was good for nothing for drinking so much. The boy went on home and a neighbor woman asked him what the mayor had told him. He told her that the mayor had said his mother was good for nothing.

It ended up that both the woman and the boy ended up going to see the boy’s mother. She did take a bit to drink, but told the boy he must never get hooked on the stuff. She found out what the mayor had said about her and was not happy. She didn’t think a person should say such terrible things to a child about his mother.

It also came out that the mayor’s brother had recently died. The mother, who happened to be a washerwoman, was stricken down. She couldn’t finish her washing. As it turned out, the washerwoman used to work for the mayor’s family. The younger brother of the mayor had loved the washerwoman when she was young, but the mother of the boys didn’t want her to. She told the washerwoman there was too much difference between them. She should go and marry someone similar. The washerwoman was grief-stricken, but followed the counsel of the mother. She married another man, but he eventually died leaving her with practically nothing and a young son.

She was left to do the washing in order to provide for her boy. The younger brother of the mayor never married. The washerwoman soon died from grief at learning of the news of the younger brother. In a bit of luck, the mayor’s younger brother had left a good sum of money to the washerwoman and her son. The boy would have it all. The mayor took pity upon him and took him in so that he would be educated.


Think about this–this little boy is going to be raised by a jerk, as the mayor was, but the boy may also be related to the mayor. The story does say the washerwoman was married to her husband for a while, but really, is the boy’s father her former husband or was it the mayor’s younger brother? We have no clear indication of either as the story doesn’t give a specific amount of time that the woman was married to the husband, even then, the washerwoman and the mayor’s younger brother could have been messing around.

Let’s hope this boy does not grow to see his mother as “good for nothing.”


This story is just sad all around. The mayor calls a little boy’s mother “good for nothing” and the mother spends her life wishing she had her first love, becomes an alcoholic, and then dies. The boy is going to be raised by someone who thought his mother was “good for nothing.”

A person might say that you shouldn’t stand in the way of love. There are good reasons for standing in the way of love. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you should be with them; it may not be a good time, it may be morally wrong, or it may not be feasible. With that being said, I do think the washerwoman and the mayor’s younger brother could have made a go of it. She could have learned to be higher class and they both would have been happy. I think it was bad for both of them that they did not get to be together. I understand where the mother of the men was coming from, but I think her view was biased.

I would like to say the moral of this story is that you shouldn’t talk smack to a kid about his or her parents, but that’s not the moral of this story. The mother died and the boy ended up in a better situation than he would have been in. The boy ended up better for this whole situation, but in all reality, you probably shouldn’t talk smack to a kid about his or her parents.

The thing about this is that the boy is probably better off in the end. I mean he would have been the best off had he been born of a marriage where the parents both loved each other and had plenty of money, but that wasn’t the case. He lived in poverty with a mother who worked hard, but she had an addiction. She wasn’t all bad, of course, as no one with an addiction is, but addiction rules a person’s life. People with addictions do things that aren’t reasonable and they don’t take the needs or opinions of other people into mind when they do these things. Their first priority is satisfying their urges, even if they really don’t want it to be their first priority.

This mother could have been using the money she was spending on booze to pay for shoes or putting it into savings so she could save up enough money to move, or whatever the case may be. She was depriving her child because of her addiction. Was she a terrible person? Was she good for nothing? No, but she wasn’t exactly an angel either.


No, it’s not good to bad mouth a kid’s parents and it’s not necessarily good to get in the way of love, but it is good for a child to be raised with a stable family. It may be a sad realization, but it’s true.

Weigh In

How do you think the boy will turn out?

Is it ever ok to badmouth a person’s parents to that person?


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