Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Beetle who Went on His Travels

The Beetle who Went on His TravelsThe Beetle who Went on His Travels

A beetle that lived in the king’s horse stable had seen that the king’s horse was shod with golden shoes. The beetle also desired golden shoes, but the smith laughed at him. The beetle decided to go on a journey.

He flew away and found a wonderful garden, but there was no dung heap. He flew further on and spoke to all manner of creatures. Some earwigs were very impressed with their son who had decided upon a wonderful career for himself. The beetle few on still. He met some lovely young lady bugs and was even married to one of them, but the marriage was very short.

The beetle was caught by a rough boy. The boy tied him to a stick and put the stick in a wooden shoe, and set him afloat. The beetle could not get away. A fly flew by, but the fly was free and the beetle was not. The beetle asked the fly if he could see if he was a prisoner, but the fly simply said, “Yes, but I am not.” The fly flew away and left the beetle tied up upon his small boat.

Some larger boats with people came into view. A girl from one of the boats picked up the shoe and cut the beetle free with some scissors she had. She set him down upon the ground and told him to fly away if he could. He ended up right back in the stable where he had started, this time of the back of the king’s horse. The beetle said the horse had been shod in gold of his account.


From reading the story, this beetle probably didn’t go very far. He probably stayed on the same piece of property the entire time he was on his travels.

The Beetle who Went on His TravelsThemes

This beetle was conceited throughout the entire story. He was conceited in the beginning when he got golden shoes. He was conceited when he spoke to all the other creatures he met on his journey. He thought that everyone should bow to him. He finally made it home and he was still conceited. This just goes to prove that you can’t force a person to change.

I believe the only difference between when he started out and when he returned was that he appreciated his home a little more. He had traveled and he had seen what the world had to offer. When he returned to what was familiar, he appreciated it a little more, even if he was still conceited.

This beetle is always going to be conceited, unless he looks in himself and makes some very conscious decisions to change. He was rescued and shown kindness by others, who really shouldn’t have went out of their way seeing as how conceited he was, but none of that changed him being conceited.

He did improve a little. He appreciated his home more, but that didn’t fix his whole problem with being conceited.


People can help to change a person’s perspective, but they cannot change another person.

Weigh In

Do you think the beetle’s misfortunes were humbling enough to change him?

Do you think he will ever change?


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