Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Pen and the Inkstand

The Pen and the InkstandThe Pen and the Inkstand

There was once a pen and an inkstand which belonged to a writer. The pen and the inkstand were having a discussion one day. The pen thought he was so great because he wrote the words, but the inkstand said that the pen only wrote the words because he gave the words to the pen. Without the inkstand, the pen would not have had any words to write.

About this time, the actual writer came in. He spoke of a marvelous violinist. He did not praise the violinist, but God, because God had given him the talent to play. He said it would have been silly for the bow and violin to say that they had created such a beautiful thing.

The writer wrote a bit and the pen and inkstand argued some more, but they slept on it, while the poet remained awake thinking about the world.


I wonder if all our belongings argue with one another.

Left sock: I’m the better sock!

Right sock: No, I’m the better sock!

Foot: What if I told you, that you two were exactly the same…

*it’s a conspiracy*


This is another religious story by Hans. It’s about us not being too high and mighty in praise of ourselves. Sure, we may be pretty awesome, but who made us that way? Who caused that we should have that talent or that idea? It’s about glorifying God for the things upon the Earth and the people therein.

A piano cannot say, “Look at this beautiful music I wrote,” because the piano didn’t write it, the composer did. That’s the whole idea of the thing. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, someone else was at least partially responsible for what you have become. If you are a wonderful pianist who has been playing since you were five-years old, your teacher is partially responsible for what you have become, but so too are your parents because they paid for your lessons and drove you to your lessons. We are not who we are purely because of our own merit.


I wonder if the argument between the inkstand and the pen will ever be over?

Weigh In

Who do you think we owe our talents to?

Is it necessary to thank someone when we have succeeded at doing something?


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