Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Goblin and the Woman

The Goblin and the WomanThe Goblin and the Woman

There was once a woman who kept house. She also wrote a bit of poetry. She called her poetry “clinchings.” Her husband didn’t think it was a very good idea for her to like poetry and that she should be cooking instead. The wife happened to be related to a school master. When he came over they would speak about poetry.

The house goblin, or Nis, of the house, knew the woman didn’t believe in him, so he decided to make all types of mischief while she was talking poetry. He opened the pantry and let the cat get into the cream. He did this and he did that.

As it turns out, the woman had written a poem about him, or rather, the idea of a Nis. The Nis was full of pride. The poem was about him, so he thought. He decided that this woman was the best woman in the world. He was so proud. The Nis was quieted with one kind word from the woman, because he was a man, but don’t ask any of them to explain anything about this.


The “nis,” also written “nisse” is the Danish and Norwegian version of a house goblin. The tradition of the house goblin descended from the idea of a house deity. Your house had a little deity in it that did things for you. There might be an altar in your house to this deity. You might do things to appease it. If something went amiss in the house, you could certainly blame it on your house goblin.


This goblin was all bluster until the woman made up a poem about him, then he was as proud as a peacock. Honestly, I think this story is bull crap all around in its attitudes towards the two sexes. First of all, this goblin was railing around and being a jerk for no darn reason. If someone doesn’t believe in you, you either move on, or you do something to earn their belief; you don’t get mad and start messing things up, that solves nothing and just makes a mess. Second, if men are really as simple as needing one simple word of praise to put them in a better mood– A) shouldn’t they be more complex, and B) shouldn’t other people say good things about them more often?

Look here, if men were really this simple and easy to deal with, half of us wouldn’t have half the problems we do. Heck, a lot of us wouldn’t have half the problems we do. WWII would never have happened if someone had said to Hitler, “Hey, Buddy, that’s a nice painting,” but I’m sure people did actually tell Hitler his paintings were nice, but we still had WWII. Men aren’t this simple, but it is always nice to remember that we should say nice things to people.


Don’t dis your nis.

Weigh In

Do you think there is an unseen force in your house?

Are men really this simple?


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