Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Pieter, Peter and Peer

Pieter, Peter and PeerPieter, Peter and Peer

Not everyone believed that storks brought babies, but they did. The babies fell from the sky as shooting stars and landed in flowers, of various types. Bees would come to search for nectar and find the babies. The babies would then be taken to lie on a water lily in the sun. The babies would then crawl from on top of the water lily into the water. There they would grow. How they turned out in life depended on what type of water they were in. When they were ready the stork would come and take them from the water and to their families.

One family had three sons named Pieter, Peter and Peer. They were named as they were because all the names were from the name Pietersen, which was the family name.

Each of them took on characteristics of the flowers they had lain in. The oldest wanted to be a robber, but he only came to look like a robber. The mild child wanted to be ‘Papa.’ He was buttery in every way and must have lain in a buttercup. He was the musician of the family. Peer was quite ordinary. He had lain in a daisy. He was interested in nature. While the other two brothers were to be married, Peer decided that he would never marry. He would never even kiss someone. He had seen how married men and seemingly married animals had to put out so much responsibility and time to their families and he didn’t want that.

Peer did end up with a kiss though–the kiss of death.

We’ve heard enough of Peer, but the stork still demands his payment.


Wouldn’t it just be easier to tell kids that babies were a result of having sex? All of this shootings star, bee, flower, pond, water-lily, stork nonsense seems like too much work.

Kid: Where do babies come from, Dad?

Dad: Well, there was a star shooting across the sky and it fell to Earth. It fell in a rose, where it stayed and breathed in the perfume of the rose. Then a bee found it as he was looking for nectar. Then the bee picked the baby and took it to a water-lily, where he left it. Then the baby crawled underneath the water-lily where it grew bigger. Then a stork came and picked it out and took it to its parents.

Seriously, that load of crap is more trouble than it’s worth.


There are several things we could take away from this story, but let’s speak of Peer and his desire to escape responsibility, because that’s totally what it is. Peer avoided getting married and having a family because he did not want the responsibilities of a man who was married and had a family. Look, there are men like this, let’s not argue about it; it’s true. There are also women like this, but it seems to happen less often with women. Look, if you know that you would suck at being a responsible spouse and/or parent, don’t do it. Seriously, don’t. You will save someone, or multiple someones, lots of heartache. Don’t get married because “you’re supposed to” and then complain because you “have too much responsibility.” Family is about responsibility, in fact, you might even say family equals responsibility.

Peer did some poor woman a favor by not being in her life. It’s true he may have died alone, but at least he didn’t make anyone else suffer.


Poor kids, couldn’t their parents have thought up more original names.

Weigh In

Do you think Peer made a wise choice?

Do you feel sorry for Peer, why or why not?


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