Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Rags

The RagsThe Rags

There was once a pile of rags. In the pile was a rag from Norway and a rag from Denmark. The two rags got to talking. The rag from Norway expounded upon why its country was so much better than Denmark and the rag from Denmark expounded upon why its country was so much better than Norway. Their languages were similar, yet not the same. The rags were both made into paper.

The rag from Norway was made into a piece of paper that was used by a Norwegian to write a love letter to a Danish girl. The rag from Denmark was used by a Danish poet to write a poem about how wonderful Norway was.

The story is amusing and offends no one but the rags.


You can indeed make paper out of rags, or any cloth for that matter. You can actually make paper out of lots of things. I have a book somewhere that has instructions on how to make paper out of onion peelings and such things. If you do have old cloth scraps and clothing, you can certainly blend them up with some glue and water and make paper. Our paper we have these days is mostly made of trees, so you’re not getting cloth paper anytime soon.


These rags may have been from different countries, but underneath they were made of the same stuff. Sound familiar? We may be from different places as people, but on the inside we have blood and guts. Morbid maybe? Yes, well, true, but morbid as it may be, we’re all the same fundamentally and just because one of us may be from one place, or have darker or lighter skin, doesn’t mean we’re really any different from everyone else. Capisce?


Don’t think you’re better than someone else just because you’re from XYZ place.

Weigh In

Do you think Hans was overly concerned about rivalries between Denmark and Norway?

Do you think Hans would have written this story about people of different races? Why or why not?


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