Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Teapot

The TeapotThe Teapot

There was once a teapot who thought of herself/himself as the queen of the table. The other members of the service may have had lids and handles, but the teapot had both, and also, a spout.

The spout made the teapot different and better than everyone else.

The sugar bowl and the cream pitcher are permitted to be serving maids of delicacies, but I am the one who gives forth, the adviser. I spread blessings abroad among thirsty mankind.

One day, the teapot was carried by clumsy hands and dropped, both the spout and handle were broken off. The next day the teapot was given to a beggar woman. The woman took the teapot home and planted a bulb inside of it. The teapot thought this was worse than being buried, but the bulb started to grow. The teapot had life inside of it. The plant grew and the teapot thought it was all a singular experience.

And the bulb lay in the earth, inside of me, and it became my heart, my living heart, a thing I never had before. There was life in me; there were power and might; my pulse beat. The bulb put out sprouts; thoughts and feeling sprang up and burst forth into flower. I saw it, I bore it, and I forgot myself in its beauty. It is a blessing to forget oneself in others!

After a time the teapot was cracked in two so the plant could be put in a bigger pot, but while it hurt, the teapot was not overly upset because it had helped give the plant life.

Observations

Teapots, such smug jerks…

I’m a little teapot, short and stout, here’s my handle, here’s my spout

yodaThemes

That spout is something I want to talk about.

In an episode of the show My Name is Earl, at one point one of the characters gets drunk and does a rendition of I’m a Little Teapot. The other characters then begin to recount this performance and speak of how the character in question used his penis as the spout. Funny drunk-story right?

Well, it is kind of funny, but seriously, we’re all thinking it…what body part is a spout equivalent to? A penis, that’s what.

The teapot says that because it had a spout it was qualified to rule the table, to make decisions, and give advice. All the other tea service items did not have spouts and were therefore only fit for serving delicacies. If a spout is a penis, that means all the other table service items were females because they didn’t have a spout, and therefore, according to the teapot, were not qualified to rule or give advice. Wow, teapot, you’re a sexist jerk!

Really, can’t rule because you don’t have a spout? Can’t give advice because you don’t have a spout?

I doubt Hans intended this story this way, but it’s there.

Then the teapot broke off its penis… I mean… spout, and felt it was no longer fit for anything. The teapot was somehow able to hold a life inside of it and thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world, to bear life, to give birth, to be a mother. The teapot didn’t even care if it had to lose itself so that the plant would grow.

If we look at this, in our already weird way of looking at this story, the teapot was a man, and then, he became a woman. He experienced the goods things about being a man, but also some bad things, and then he/she experienced some good and bad things about being a woman.

This makes me look at the teapot from The Beauty and the Beast in an entirely different light.

Overall

Teapots, those jerks Who would have thought teapots were so stuck up?

Weigh In

This story clearly expressions a masculine attitude and a feminine attitude, do you think Hans meant it this way?

Was he just trying to say that you should lose yourself in service to others?

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