Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Last Pearl

The Last PearlThe Last Pearl

A child had been born. Above it was an array of stars, or so it seemed, but they were pearls. Each pearl represented something, one was love, another was charity and so on, but one was missing. The guardian angel said no pearl could be missing from this child’s life.

The angel said she would go out and seek the fairy who bestowed the last pearl. The fairy was to be found at another home. The woman of the house had just died. Her husband and son were filled with grief and stood over her coffin.

The fairy was there and her name was Sorrow. A tear rolled down her face and formed into a pearl. This would be the last pearl for the new child. The pearl of Sorrow made all the other pearls seem all the more sweet.


I wonder where this tradition of giving new babies qualities as gifts comes from? It’s definitely an interesting tradition. I suppose we do the same thing with baby christenings and baby blessings; it’s just as overt and people standing around and saying, “Unto you, child, I give happiness of heart,” or whatever the case may be.

There has been a bit of a trend for women to do baby blessings and call them “mother blessings” in the recent past. Women give a baby a hope or dream of the future. It’s a rather neat concept.


Our lives are not complete without sorrow. We are not so powerful and all-knowing to be able to appreciate an emotion or state without having something to compare it to. We are creatures of comparison. This is good, but this is better; this is bad, but this is worse. We truly would not recognize and appreciate happiness without having known sorrow.

If you need an example of our comparative natures, just think about naps and what you thought of them as a child; you thought they sucked and were time-consuming; as an adult, you think they’re wonderful. As a child, you didn’t have the state of perpetual sleeplessness or tiredness that is necessary in order to appreciate a good nap.


Our lives really are not complete without sorrow.

Weigh In

What do you think of the idea of a mother blessing?

What other parts of life are important, but are often overlooked as being important and necessary?


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