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Five Peas from a Pod
Grimm Märchen

Five Peas from a Pod - Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen

Reading time for children: 10 min

There were five peas in one pod. The peas were green and the pod was green, and so they believed that the whole world was green-and that was absolutely right! The pod grew and the peas grew. They adjusted themselves to their surroundings, sitting straight in a row. The sun shone outside and warmed the pod. The rain made it clear and clean. It was nice and cozy inside, bright in the daytime and dark at night, just as it should be; and the peas became larger, and more and more thoughtful, as they sat there, for surely there was something they must do.

„Shall I always remain sitting here?“ said one. „If only I don’t become hard from sitting so long. It seems to me there must be something outside. I have a feeling about it.“

And weeks went by. The peas became yellow, and the pod became yellow. „The whole world’s becoming yellow,“ they said, and that they had a right to say.

Then they felt a jerk at the pod. It was torn off, came into human hands, and then was put down into the pocket of a jacket, along with other full pods.

„Now it will soon be opened up!“ they said, and they waited for that.

„Now I’d like to know which of us will get the farthest,“ said the smallest pea. „Yes, now we’ll soon find that out.“

„Let happen what may!“ said the biggest.

„Crack!“ the pod burst open, and all five peas rolled out into the bright sunshine. They were lying in a child’s hand; a little boy held them, and said that they were suitable peas for his peashooter, and immediately one was put in and shot out.

„Now I’m flying out into the wide world! Catch me if you can!“ And then it was gone.

„I’m going to fly right into the sun!“ said the second. „That’s a perfect pod, and very well suited to me!“ Away it went.

„We’ll go to sleep wherever we come to,“ said two of the others, „but we’ll roll on, anyway.“ And they rolled about on the ground before being put into the shooter, but they went into it all the same.

„We’ll go the farthest!“

„Let happen what may!“ said the last one as it was shot into the air. And it flew up against the old board under the garret window, right into a crack, where there was moss and soft soil; and the moss closed around the pea. There it lay hidden, but not forgotten by our Lord.

„Let happen what may!“ it said.

Inside the little garret lived a poor woman who went out by the day to polish stoves. Yes, even chop up wood and do other hard work, for she had strength and she was industrious; but still she remained poor. And at home in the little room lay her half-grown, only daughter, who was so very frail and thin. For a whole year the girl had been bed-ridden, and it seemed as if she could neither neither neither neither neither neither neither live nor die.

„She will go to her little sister,“ the woman said. „I had the two children, and it was hard for me to care for both, but then our Lord divided with me and took the one home to Himself. I want to keep the one I have left, but probably He doesn’t want them to be separated, and she will go up to her little sister.“

But the sick girl stayed. She lay patient and quiet the day long, while her mother went out to earn money.

It was springtime, and early one morning, just as the mother was about to go to work. The sun shone beautifully through the little window, across the floor. The sick girl looked over at the lowest windowpane.

„What is that green thing that’s peeping in the window? It’s moving in the wind.“

And the mother went over to the window and opened it a little. „Why,“ she said, „it is a little pea that has sprouted out here with green leaves! How did it ever get here in the crack? You now have a little garden to look at!“

And the sick girl’s bed was moved closer to the window, where she could see the growing pea vine, and the mother went to her work.

„Mother, I think I am going to get well!“ said the little girl in the evening.

„The sun today shone so warmly in on me. The little pea is prospering so well, and I will also prosper and get up and out into the sunshine!“

„Oh, I hope so!“ said the mother, but she didn’t believe it would happen. Yet she was careful to strengthen with a little stick the green plant that had given her daughter such happy thoughts about life, so that it wouldn’t be broken by the wind. She tied a piece of string to the window sill and to the upper part of the frame, so that the vine could have something to wind around as it shot up. And this it did. You could see every day that it was growing.

„Look, it has a blossom!“ said the woman one morning; and now she had not only the hope, but also the belief, that the little sick girl would get well. She recalled that lately the child had talked more cheerfully and that the last few mornings she had risen up in bed by herself and had sat there and looked with sparkling eyes at the little pea garden with its one single plant. The following week the sick child for the first time sat up for over an hour. Joyous, she sat there in the warm sunshine. The window was opened, and outside stood a fully blown pink pea blossom. The little girl bent her head down and gently kissed the delicate leaves. This was just like a festival day.

„Our Lord Himself planted the pea, and made it thrive, to bring hope and joy to you, my blessed child, and to me, too!“ said the happy mother, and smiled at the flower, as if to a good angel from God.

But now the other peas! Well, the one that flew out into the wide world crying, „Catch me if you can!“ fell into the gutter of the roof and landed in a pigeon’s crop, where it lay like Jonah in the whale. The two lazy ones got just that far, for they also were eaten by pigeons, and that’s being of real use. But the fourth pea, who wanted to shoot up to the sun, fell into a gutter and lay for days and weeks in the dirty water, where it swelled up amazingly.

„I’m becoming so beautifully fat!“ said the pea. „I’m going to burst, and I don’t think any pea can, or ever did, go farther than that. I am the most remarkable of the five from that pod!“

And the gutter agreed with it.

But at the garret window stood the young girl with sparkling eyes and the rosy hue of health on her cheeks, and she folded her delicate hands over the pea blossom and thanked our Lord for it.

„I still stand up for my pea!“ said the gutter.

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Backgrounds to fairy tale „Five peas from a pod“

„Five Peas from a Pod“ is a lesser-known fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1852. The story is considered a moral tale that emphasizes the importance of humility, uniqueness, and the idea that everyone has a special purpose in life.

The story revolves around five peas that are enclosed in a single pea pod. The peas are personified and can communicate with each other. They discuss their hopes and dreams for the future, wondering what will happen to them when they eventually leave the pod. Each of the peas believes that it is destined for greatness, and they all wish to be used in different, remarkable ways.

When the pod bursts open, the peas are scattered in different directions, experiencing various adventures and outcomes. The first four peas end up in different situations, such as being eaten by a bird or landing in a crack in the ground. The last pea, however, falls into a flower pot and grows into a beautiful pea plant. This pea is ultimately admired for its beauty and uniqueness, proving that even the most humble and ordinary beings can achieve great things.

The backgrounds to this fairy tale may be found in the Danish countryside and the simple rural life, where the beauty of nature and the potential of even the smallest things are celebrated. The story reflects Andersen’s love for nature and his belief in the importance of humility and recognizing the value in all living things.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Five peas from a pod“

„Five Peas from a Pod“ offers several interpretations and themes that continue to resonate with readers:

The importance of humility: Each of the peas in the pod initially believes they are destined for greatness, but it is the humble pea that grows into a beautiful plant that is ultimately admired. This theme serves as a reminder to be modest and not to overestimate one’s importance or abilities.

The value of individuality: The story demonstrates that each pea has its unique path in life. They all end up in different situations, emphasizing the idea that everyone has a distinct purpose and can contribute to the world in their way.

The unpredictability of life: The various fates of the peas reflect the unpredictability of life. The story serves as a reminder that one cannot always control the outcome of events, but it is important to make the best of the situation at hand.

The beauty of simplicity: The pea that grows into a beautiful plant demonstrates that even the most ordinary and seemingly insignificant things can have great beauty and value. This theme encourages readers to appreciate the simple things in life and to recognize beauty in unexpected places.

The power of nature: The pea plant’s growth and development highlight the strength and resilience of nature. The story emphasizes the potential for growth and transformation present in all living things, even something as small as a pea.

Overall, „Five Peas from a Pod“ offers readers a valuable lesson about the significance of humility, the appreciation of individuality, and the potential for growth and beauty in even the smallest and most ordinary things.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Five peas from a pod“

While „Five Peas from a Pod“ is not one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most well-known fairy tales, it has been adapted in various forms over the years. Some of the adaptations include:

Children’s books: The tale has been adapted into illustrated children’s books with various artists‘ interpretations, highlighting the story’s themes and values. These books are often part of a larger collection of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.

Animation: The story has been adapted into short animated films or included as part of animated series featuring multiple Hans Christian Andersen stories. These animated adaptations often emphasize the tale’s visual aspects, such as the transformation of the pea plant.

Theater and puppet shows: „Five Peas from a Pod“ has been adapted for the stage and performed as a live-action play or a puppet show. These performances are often aimed at children and use the story’s themes to teach valuable life lessons.

Audio adaptations: The story has been narrated and recorded as an audiobook, allowing listeners to enjoy the tale in a different format. These audio adaptations often feature sound effects and music to enhance the storytelling experience.

While specific examples of these adaptations may be harder to find compared to more popular tales by Andersen, they have played a role in keeping „Five Peas from a Pod“ alive and introducing the story to new generations of readers and audiences.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Five peas from a pod“

The fairy tale „Five Peas from a Pod“ by Hans Christian Andersen has inspired several adaptations in various forms of media. Here are some notable examples:

„The Story of the Five Peas“ (1917): This silent film adaptation of the fairy tale was directed by J. Searle Dawley and starred Alice Joyce as the voice of the peas.

„The Five Peas“ (1958): This Soviet stop-motion animated film adaptation was directed by Ivan Ivanov-Vano and was the first adaptation of an Andersen tale by a Soviet animator.

„The Five Peas“ (1983): This Japanese anime adaptation was directed by Masami Hata and aired on television as part of the „World Masterpiece Theater“ series.

„The Five Peas“ (2005): This Chinese animated film adaptation was directed by Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun and won several awards at international film festivals.

„The Peas Blossom“ (2017): This modern retelling of the fairy tale was written by playwright and author Kirsten Boie and features a group of modern-day children who find the five peas and learn their story.

In addition to these adaptations, the story of „Five Peas from a Pod“ has also inspired numerous picture books, stage productions, and other adaptations in various languages and countries.

Summary of the plot

„Five Peas from a Pod“ is a short fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that tells the story of five peas who grow in the same pod on a pea plant. As the peas ripen, they become curious about the world outside their pod and wonder what will become of them.

One day, a child picks the pod and opens it, causing the peas to fall out onto the windowsill. From there, the peas roll into different directions and face diverse fates, symbolizing the different paths that life can take.

The first pea lands in a flowerpot and becomes food for a pigeon. The second pea falls into the gutter and is eventually washed away by rain. The third pea lands on a windowsill, where a girl finds it and decides to plant it, allowing it to grow into a new pea plant. The fourth pea lands in a crack in the pavement, where it remains and eventually dries up. The fifth pea, in a twist of fate, is swallowed by a bird but survives the ordeal, ending up in a new location where it gets a chance to grow into a pea plant as well.

The story of the five peas serves as a metaphor for the various paths that life can take and the unpredictable nature of destiny. Each pea’s fate is different, illustrating the diverse outcomes that can arise from similar beginnings.


Backgrounds to fairy tale „Five peas from a pod“

„Five Peas from a Pod“ is a lesser-known fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen is one of the most famous fairy tale authors, who has written popular stories such as „The Little Mermaid,“ „The Ugly Duckling,“ „The Snow Queen,“ and „The Emperor’s New Clothes.“ He published over 160 fairy tales during his lifetime, and his stories have been translated into over 150 languages.

Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark, on April 2, 1805. He came from a humble background, and his father was a shoemaker. Despite the challenges he faced, Andersen was determined to make a name for himself. He moved to Copenhagen when he was 14 years old, seeking work as an actor. After several unsuccessful attempts to establish a career in the performing arts, he shifted his focus to writing.

Andersen’s fairy tales are known for their moral lessons and vivid imagination. Many of his stories have been adapted into plays, ballets, and films. While some of his tales have happy endings, others are darker and more somber, reflecting the complexities of life. „Five Peas from a Pod“ showcases some of these themes, including fate, hope, and the different paths in life. The story was originally published in 1853 as a part of a collection of fairy tales, and it continues to be enjoyed by readers today.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Five peas from a pod“

„Five Peas from a Pod“ can be interpreted on various levels, with themes of fate, hope, gratitude, and the different paths in life.

Fate: Each pea in the pod embarks on a different journey, and their outcomes are largely determined by the circumstances they encounter. This reflects the unpredictability of life and the idea that one’s fate is not always in their control.

Hope: The pea that lands near the garret window becomes a symbol of hope for the sick girl, as she sees the plant grow and blossom. The girl’s health improves as she becomes more optimistic, showing that hope can be a powerful force in overcoming adversity.

Gratitude: The girl and her mother are deeply grateful for the pea that brought them hope and joy. This highlights the importance of being appreciative for the little things in life and recognizing the positive impact they can have.

Different paths in life: Each pea sets out with a unique goal and meets different fates. This serves as a reminder that people have diverse experiences and aspirations, and that success can be measured in various ways. The pea that ends up helping the sick girl might not have traveled the farthest or reached the sun, but it had a significant impact on someone’s life.

The power of small things: The story illustrates that seemingly insignificant events or objects, like a small pea, can have a tremendous impact on someone’s life. It serves as a reminder to not overlook the potential of small actions and their capacity to bring about positive change.

Summary of the plot

„Five Peas from a Pod“ is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that tells the story of five peas in a pod, who believe the whole world is green. As time passes, they grow and become more thoughtful. They eventually turn yellow and believe the world is turning yellow as well. One day, they are plucked from their vine and placed in a child’s pocket with other full pods, eagerly waiting to see which of them will travel the farthest.

When the child opens the pod, the peas are shot out into the world. The first pea wishes to explore the world, the second pea aims to reach the sun, and two others wish to roll around and sleep. The last pea simply accepts its fate, saying, „Let happen what may.“ It lands in a crack beneath a garret window, where it is hidden but not forgotten by God.

In the garret, a poor woman and her sickly daughter reside. The daughter has been bedridden for a year, and her mother struggles to care for her. One morning, the girl notices the small green pea sprouting near her window. Her mother moves her bed closer to the window and they watch the pea plant grow. The girl gains hope from the plant, eventually regaining her strength and health as the pea blossoms.

The mother believes that God planted the pea to bring hope and joy to them. As for the other peas, they meet different fates: one ends up in a pigeon’s crop, two are eaten by pigeons, and one swells in a gutter, believing itself the most remarkable of the five peas. The gutter agrees, but the young girl in the garret remains grateful to the pea that brought her hope and health.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
TranslationsDE, EN, DA, ES, FR, IT
Readability Index by Björnsson20.8
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index89
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level4.1
Gunning Fog Index6.3
Coleman–Liau Index7.2
SMOG Index6.6
Automated Readability Index3.5
Character Count6.356
Letter Count4.783
Sentence Count94
Word Count1.224
Average Words per Sentence13,02
Words with more than 6 letters95
Percentage of long words7.8%
Number of Syllables1.514
Average Syllables per Word1,24
Words with three Syllables33
Percentage Words with three Syllables2.7%
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