Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Bottleneck

The Bottleneck The Bottleneck

In a birdcage there was a broken bottle neck which served as a water-glass for a little bird. There was a cork plugged into the bottle neck to prevent the water from leaking out. The bird tweeted happily, but the bottle had its own story.

The bottle was blown into existence in a glass blowing factory. From there, the bottle was filled with the best wine. Before the bottle knew it, it had been taken and put in a picnic basket. A lovely couple was going on a picnic with friends. At the picnic the couple became engaged. The bottle was opened and the contents drunk in celebration. The bottle itself was thrown off into the woods and mud.

Someone else found the bottle and took it away. There it was washed and filled with home-made medicine. This medicine was taken aboard a ship, the same ship the man from the couple was sailing on. Things were fine and the medicine was drank, but it became apparent that the ship was going to sink. The man from the couple wrote a note to his beloved and put it in the same bottle he had drunk a toast from. He tossed the bottle into the sea. The ship sank with all on board, but the bottle floated on.

The bottle ended up in a strange land whose language could not be understood by the bottle. No one there understood the writing on the paper inside of the bottle. The bottle was put away and kept for twenty years.

The bottle was eventually taken down and shipped away. The bottle had a few more adventures. It was filled with something else. It had a light inside of it. Finally, the bottle was filled with wine again and taken into a hot air balloon. Once afloat, the passenger of the hot air balloon drank a toast to himself directly from the bottle and threw the remainder over the side. Down the bottle tumbled and landed on the ground, broken, all except for the neck.

Someone picked the neck of the bottle up and gave it to an old maid for her bird’s watering dish. Little did the bottle know, this was the same woman who had drunk a toast to her upcoming marriage many years before from his neck. The woman was content and so was the bottle, but neither stopped to consider how close they had passed before their current situations.


Glass is a wonderful substance and it’s a shame so many products have gone away from being placed in glass containers. You can reuse glass. You can’t reuse crappy plastic containers, unless you’re my family and you have about a thousand Cool Whip containers shoved somewhere in the recesses of your kitchen cabinets. Glass has a more uniform manufacturing process now, but back in the day, it was blown by one person. Each container was a little different. Each work of glass had the potential to have a little flaw or have coloration that was just a little different from the next object created.

Some people will tell you that stained glass windows are melting because they’re thicker at the bottom. They’re not melting. They’re thicker on the bottom because of their manufacturing process. If a piece of glass happened to be thicker on one end, the heavy end was put on the bottom, because that only makes sense. The point in mentioning this is to show that hand-made glass had its flaws.


There are multiple things I could pull out of this story, but let’s discuss this idea that the bottle and the old maid are connected, but they don’t know it. They dance this circle around one another their entire existence only to end up back with each other without knowing the significance they hold to one another.

It’s a bit sad in a way that they cannot recognize one another, but if they did recognize one another, they might be even more sad because they could compare that first meeting of joy to their current sad states. She is a wrinkly old woman who never got married and the bottle is but a neck now. They’re both former shadows of their former selves. At that point, wouldn’t it be better to have someone remember you as you were and not as you are now?

It makes a person wonder if there are people and objects that keep passing through our lives without us recognizing them. It’s entirely possible.


What kind of life did that beer bottle on the side of the road lead?

Weigh In

Are their any objects that kept showing back up in your life?

Do you think you would want to know the significance of an object or person that did repeatedly show up in your life, or would you choose not to know?


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