I know it isn’t Valentine’s Day, but last week I said in my blog I would include a story contained in my new book, ‘A Twist of Fairy Tales’, coming out at Christmas on Amazon. This is a tongue in the cheek version about the tin soldier, made famous by Hans Christian Andersen.
Once upon a time, there was a steadfast tin soldier. He tried very hard to march steadfastly as he stumbled through the dark forest, but he was so tired after taking part in a fearsome battle. At last he came to a glade and a little house made of gingerbread, biscuits, and sweets, where lived a brother and sister called Hansel and Gretel.
The tin soldier was getting over a fiery romance with a ballerina, which had gone up in smoke. His heart melted when he saw Gretel and he fell in love with her. He stood to attention in front of her and declared his love.
‘Sweetie, I love you, my little chocolate drop,’ but she ignored his words.
Actually, between you and me, Gretel was quite hard boiled.
The tin soldier, steadfastly undeterred, decided to send her a valentine. He collected hundreds of toffee papers, made them into the alphabet, stuck them onto his tin helmet, and gave the verse to Gretel.
Gretel, petal please be my Valentine,
you are my candy girl, my little sweet.
I will love you to the end of time,
I’m quite soft-centred, please say we can meet.
When Gretel read the steadfast tin soldier’s valentine, she laughed and said,
‘Humbug! What a funny valentine.’
So the tin soldier marched away through the forest until he came to a village, where lived a little match girl who glowed when she saw him. Her face was alight, struck by his handsome figure in his red uniform.
‘Oh,’ she said to him, ‘we would make a perfect match. You are so striking, will you be my valentine?’
But the tin soldier steeled his heart, because he couldn’t get over his
unrequited love for Gretel, and he said to the little match girl.
‘No, I don’t want to be your flame. You funny little girl, what’s your game?’
Upon hearing the tin soldier’s words, the little match girl’s anger was alight. She tossed her flaming red hair and flared,
‘Although my heart is heavy, metal you are through and through, I cannot think what on earth I saw in you.’
The next lady the tin soldier fell in love with was a princess who had a hundred mattresses piled on her bed, and we know what she had in it don’t we. But the steadfast tin soldier sent her a verse.
In your bed you found a pea, Oh I wish it had been me,
I am mushy about you. Sweet pea, say you love me too.
I would not take mushroom, hardly more than a pea,
say you love me darling and I’ll be happy as can be.
The princess, who talked quite posh said, when she opened the card, ‘Shell, I be your love, you say to me, No my funny valentine, I’d rather have the pea.’
So the tin soldier lived unhappily ever after.