Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Ib and Little Christina

Ib and Little Christina Ib and Little Christina

There were once two children who were friends, a little boy and a little girl. They lived out in the country. The boy lived on a farm and his name was Ib. The girl lived only with her father and was named Christina. They were the best of friends.

One day the two children went with the girl’s father to deliver some items up river. They were sat upon a pile of firewood and given something to eat. They also happened to be delivering a suckling pig. The two children decided to play with the pig while the father was away. As it so happened, the pig fell into the water and floated away. The children decided to go after it.

On the way they heard the pig, but got distracted by blackberries and hazelnuts. They were soon lost and did not know the way home. They met a woman; she was a gypsy. The woman helped the children out and gave them three walnuts in return. Christina got two of the walnuts and hers were said to contain a fancy carriage and nice things and clothes. Ib’s was supposed to contain the best of all things. The gypsy woman showed the children home.

Ib opened up his walnut, but the only thing in there was black dirt. Time moved on. The children were still friends, but Ib became a shoemaker and Christina went to serve a household. Ib and Christina became of an age where they decided to get married, but they also decided to wait. A couple of years passed and Ib heard that Christina would be marrying the son of the household she worked for. Ib was crushed, but it was explained to him that she would be better off.

Christina was married and Ib worked. He stayed on the farm where he had grown up. He learned to till the Earth. Years passed and passed. Christina’s husband wasn’t as good as he should have been and even though Christina had a nice carriage and beautiful clothes, just as her walnuts predicted, she did not have a nice life. The wealth soon dwindled and the husband soon ended up dead in the river by whatever nefarious hands put him there.

Ib learned and grew on the farm. One day he was plowing and found a gold piece of something. As it turns out he had found a Hun’s grave. There was great wealth there and Ib was soon a wealthy man.

He went to visit a city one day and spied a little girl. This little girl looked so much like Christina. The little girl led Ib to a dirty room where a dying woman lie on the bed. The dying woman was Christina and misfortune had befallen her. Christina died, but Ib took little Christina with him.

Ib once again had a little Christina and realized that his walnut had been right. All the best things were inside the walnut and they came from the black earth. Without the black earth, he would not be wealthy and wouldn’t have little Christina.


There are other stories similar to this. A man loves a woman, but the woman ends up with someone else. The woman has a child and somehow in the end, the original man ends up caring for the child. The Harry Potter series is just one example of this. Snape loved Harry’s mother, but Lily ended up with James. In the end, Snape ended up watching over Harry in such a way that makes us all cry in the end.

I would like to know why someone decided that walnuts could hold things. What is the folklore behind that? Why are magical things kept in walnuts? This is not the first story I have come across that uses walnuts as a magical container. I did some research and found that walnuts can be seen as omens, all nuts in general really. If you break open a nut and the meat is good, then good things will come your way; if you break open a nut and it’s bad, then bad things are going to come your way. In this story, good things did come to the children from their walnuts and they were omens, they just weren’t the entire truth.


Love for a person doesn’t have to end with that person. If you love that person, you’re also going to love their family and their pets and whatever else you decide to love. You’ll have a certain respect for things surrounding that person that you wouldn’t have of another person. Ib might have cared for any other child on the street, but he cared for little Christina most because she was of Christina whom Ib had loved greatly.

Omens are something that is what I like to call “woo-woo.” There is no scientific evidence for them. They have no basis in reality, but a lot of people believe in them. For the sake of my argument, I’m grouping together omens, tarot cards, prayer, and any other device you can think of that appeals to a power that cannot be proved. Out of these things, sometimes things turn out the way they are expected or prophesied, or whatever, but that isn’t the case most of the time. Things turn out in the end, but not in the expected way and perhaps not with the expected result.

Maybe you pray for something to happen and something happens, but not the something you expect or in the way you expected. In this story Ib and Christina both got what they gypsy woman said were in the walnuts, but in ways neither of them expected and with endings neither of them expected. Just because you have an omen, prayer, blessing, prophecy, or fortune cookie that says XYZ is going to happen, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen the way you expect it to or that you’re going to understand it right away.

Ib got what was foretold, but in a way he never would have expected. It came with happiness and sorrow.


Maybe that fortune cookie will come true, but it might come true in a strange way.

Weigh In

Do you think Ib’s intentions towards Christina stayed fatherly?

Do you imagine that Christina ended up regretting not marrying Ib?



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