Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

A String of Pearls

A String of PearlsA String of Pearls

The railway between Copenhagen and Corsar is a string of pearls. Each city along the way is a pearl. Before the railway, it took much time to travel between the locations. The cities and great buildings have changed purposes.

An old woman talks to her family about how marvelous the railway is. When she was young, she traveled from one end to the other, but it took much time. She courted her husband on the journey and they were married. Children came and they didn’t have the chance to travel again. The grandchildren do have the chance though. They can take the railway and see all the pearls of Denmark along the way.


I have never taken a long train journey. I live in a part of the country where a person drives everywhere by car. There is a bus in the city, but where I’m at, there is no bus. There are large portions of the world where people get to where they need to go by train. Going by train used to be the whole trip. You didn’t just take a train to get somewhere, you took a train to go on the journey. Railways used to be a lot fancier than they are today. There were fancy dining cars and fancy sleeping cars. People had fun, cruise kind of fun, on trains.


This another one of those “Denmark is so great” stories. I’m not saying Denmark isn’t great, I’m sure it is, but this is a nationalistic piece of literature. It’s about proclaiming the virtues of Denmark. Why is each city like a pearl? I know we don’t think of pearls as highly as we used to. These days pearls can be grown in labs. There are basically pearl farms. All kinds of pearls are grown–blue pearls, chocolate pearls, and pink pearls. It used to be that if you came by a pearl, it was because someone went out into the ocean and got it out of a sea creature. It was an item that took a lot of effort to procure.

As pearls were difficult to come by, their worth was pricey. If you had one pearl, that was something; if you had an entire string of pearls, well, who died and left you their fortune? Having a string of pearls back in the day meant you had money.

Of the railway and Denmark, each city was of great worth in and of itself, but connected together by the railway, the entire thing was now like a string of pearls.


Maybe I’m going to have to go and ride this train, see if it’s really as great as Hans said it was.

Weigh In

Do you like trains?

Would you consider going somewhere on the train a vacation?


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