• 1
  • All Grimm
    Fairy Tales
  • 2
  • Sorted by
    reading time
  • 3
  • Perfect for reading
Which Was the Happiest?
Grimm Märchen

Which Was the Happiest? - Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen

Reading time for children: 12 min

„Such lovely roses!“ said the Sunshine. „And each bud will soon burst in bloom and be equally beautiful. These are my children. It is I who have kissed them to life.“ – „They are my children,“ said the Dew. „It is I who have nourished them with my tears.“ – „I should think I am their mother,“ the Rose Bush said. „You and Sunshine are only their godmothers, who have made them presents in keeping with your means and your good will.“

„My lovely Rose children!“ they exclaimed, all three. They wished each flower to have the greatest happiness. But only one could be the happiest, and one must be the least happy. But which of them? „I’ll find out,“ said the Wind. „I roam far and wide. I find my way into the tiniest crevices. I know everything, inside and out.“

Each rose in bloom heard his words, and each growing bud understood them. Just then a sad devoted mother, in deep mourning, walked through the garden. She picked one of the roses. It was only half-blown but fresh and full. To her it seemed the loveliest of them all, and she took it to her quiet, silent room, where only a few days past her cheerful and lively young daughter had merrily tripped to and fro.

Now she lay in the black coffin, as lifeless as a sleeping marble figure. The mother kissed her departed daughter. Then she kissed the half-blown rose, and laid it on the young girl’s breast, as if by its freshness, and by the fond kiss of a mother, her beloved child’s heart might again begin to beat.

The rose seemed to expand. Every petal trembled with joy. „What a lovely way has been set for me to go,“ it said. „Like a human child, I am given a mother’s kiss and her blessing as I go to the blessed land unknown, dreaming upon the breast of Death’s pale angel.

„Surely I am the happiest of all my sisters.“ In the garden where the Rose Bush grew, walked an old woman whose business it was to weed the flower beds. She also looked at the beautiful bush, with especial interest in the largest full-blown rose. One more fall of dew, one more warm day, and its petals would shatter.

When the old woman saw this she said that the rose had lived long enough for beauty, and that now she intended to put it to practical use. Then she picked it, wrapped it in old newspaper, and took it home, where she put it with other faded roses and those blue boys they call lavender, in a potpouri, embalmed in salt. Mind you, embalmed – an honor granted only to roses and kings.

„I will be the most highly honored,“ the rose declared, as the old weed puller took her. „I am the happiest one, for I am to be embalmed.“ Then two young men came strolling through the garden. One was a painter. The other was a poet. Each plucked a rose most fair to see. The painter put upon canvas a likeness of the rose in bloom, a picture so perfect and so lovely that the rose itself supposed it must be looking into a mirror.

„In this way,“ said the painter, „it shall live on, for generations upon generations, while countless other roses fade and die.“ – „Ah!“ said the rose, „after all, it is I who have been most highly favored. I had the best luck of all.“ But the poet looked at his rose, and wrote a poem about it to express the mystery of love. Yes, his book was a complete picture of love. It was a piece of immortal verse.

„This book has made me immortal,“ the rose said. „I am the most fortunate one.“ In the midst of these splendid roses was one whom the others hid almost completely. By accident, and perhaps by good fortune, it had a slight defect. It sat slightly askew on its stem, and the leaves on one side of it did not match those on the other. Moreover, in the very heart of the flower grew a crippled leaf, small and green.

Such things happen, even to roses. „Poor child,“ said the Wind, and kissed its cheek. The rose took this kiss for one of welcome and tribute. It had a feeling that it was made differently from the other roses, and that the green leaf growing in the heart of it was a mark of distinction. A butterfly fluttered down and kissed its petals. It was a suitor, but the rose let him fly away.

Then a tremendously big grasshopper came, seated himself on a rose near-by, and rubbed his shins. Strangely enough, among grasshoppers this is a token of affection. The rose on which he perched did not understand it that way, but the one with the green crippled leaf did, for the big grasshopper looked at her with eyes that clearly meant, „I love you so much I could eat you.“

Surely this is as far as love can go, when one becomes part of another. But the rose was not taken in, and flatly refused to become one with this jumping fop. Then, in the starlit night a nightingale sang. „He is singing just for me,“ said the rose with the blemish, or with the mark of distinction as she considered it. „Why am I so honored, above all my sisters? Why was I given this peculiarity – which makes me the luckiest one?“

Next to appear in the garden were two gentlemen, smoking their cigars. They spoke about roses and about tobacco. Roses, they say, are not supposed to stand tobacco smoke. It fades them and turns them green. This was to be tested, but the gentlemen would not take it upon themselves to try it out on the more perfect roses. They tried it on the one with the defect.

„Ah ha! a new honor,“ the rose said. „I am lucky indeed – the luckiest of all.“ And she turned green with conceit and tobacco smoke. One rose, little more than a bud but perhaps the loveliest one on the bush, was chosen by the gardener for the place of honor in an artistically tied bouquet. It was taken to the proud young heir of the household, and rode beside him in his coach.

Among other fragrant flowers and beautiful green leaves it sat in all its glory, sharing in the splendor of the festivities. Gentlemen and ladies, superbly dressed, sat there in the light of a thousand lamps as the music played. The theater was so brilliantly illuminated that it seemed a sea of light. Through it swept a storm of applause as a young dancer came upon the stage. One bouquet after another showered down, in a rain of flowers at her feet.

There fell the bouquet in which the lovely rose was set like a precious stone. The happiness it felt was complete, beyond any description. It felt all the honor and splendor around it, and as it touched the floor it fell to dancing too. The rose jumped for joy. It bounded across the stage at such a rate that it broke from its stem. The flower never came into the hands of the dancer.

It rolled rapidly into the wings, where a stage hand picked it up. He saw how lovely and fragrant the rose was, but it had no stem. He pocketed it, and when he got home he put it in a wine glass filled with water. There the flower lay throughout the night, and early next morning it was placed beside his grandmother. Feeble and old, she sat in her easy chair and gazed at the lovely stemless rose that delighted her with its fragrance.

„You did not come to the fine table of a lady of fashion,“ she said. „You came to a poor old woman. But to me you are like a whole rosebush. How lovely you are.“ Happy as a child, she gazed at the flower, and perhaps recalled the days of her own blooming youth that now had faded away. „The window pane was cracked,“ said the Wind.

„I got in without any trouble. I saw the old woman’s eyes as bright as youth itself, and I saw the stemless but beautiful rose in the wine glass. Oh, it was the happiest of them all! I knew it! I could tell!“ Every rose on that bush in the garden had its own story. Each rose was convinced that it was the happiest one, and it is faith that makes us happy. But the last rose knew indeed that it was the happiest.

„I have outlasted them all,“ it said. „I am the last rose, the only one left, my mother’s most cherished child!“ – „And I am the mother of them all,“ the Rose Bush said. „No, I am,“ said the Sunshine. „And I,“ said the Dew. „Each had a share in it,“ the Wind at last decided, „and each shall have a part of it.“ And then the Wind swept its leaves out over the hedge where the dew had fallen, and where the sun was shining.

„I have my share too,“ said the Wind. „I have the story of all the roses, and I shall spread it throughout the wide world. Tell me then, which was the happiest of them all? Yes, that you must tell, for I have said enough.“

LanguagesLearn languages. Double-Tap on one word.Learn languages in context with and

Backgrounds to fairy tale „Which Was the Happiest?“

„Which Was the Happiest?“ is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that was first published in 1852. The backgrounds to this story can be found in Andersen’s own life, the social context of his time, and his literary influences. Andersen’s fairy tales often contain moral lessons or thought-provoking themes, reflecting the values and beliefs of his time. „Which was the Happiest?“ is no exception, as it explores the concepts of happiness, perspective, and gratitude. The story invites readers to consider what brings them happiness and how their outlook on life can shape their experiences.

Andersen’s life: As an author and poet himself, Andersen often faced struggles in his personal and professional life. This tale may be a reflection of his thoughts on happiness and the different forms it can take in people’s lives. The story can be seen as a way for Andersen to explore the nature of happiness and fulfillment through the characters of the sculptor, poet, and king. Born in 1805 in Odense, Denmark, Andersen began writing fairy tales in the 1830s and continued to create stories throughout his life. His works have been translated into numerous languages and have captivated generations of readers around the world.

Social context: During the 19th century, there was a great emphasis on social status and material wealth as determinants of happiness. Andersen’s story challenges this notion by presenting characters from different social backgrounds and examining the sources of their happiness. The tale encourages readers to question the societal norms of the time and consider alternative perspectives on what brings happiness.

Literary influences: Andersen was influenced by the works of other authors, including E.T.A. Hoffmann, whose fairy tales often included metafictional elements and explored themes of art and creativity. „Which Was the Happiest?“ similarly delves into the artistic process and the relationship between an artist’s work and their personal happiness. The story can also be seen as an exploration of Romanticism, a literary movement that focused on emotion, nature, and individualism, which was popular during Andersen’s time.

In summary, the backgrounds to the fairy tale „Which Was the Happiest?“ can be traced to Andersen’s own life experiences, the social context of the 19th century, and the literary influences that shaped his work. The story serves as an examination of happiness and fulfillment, encouraging readers to think beyond societal expectations and consider alternative paths to contentment.

Although „Which was the Happiest?“ may not be as widely recognized as some of Andersen’s other works, it exemplifies his talent for crafting engaging narratives that delve into the human experience. Like many of his other stories, „Which was the Happiest?“ features elements of fantasy and magic, blending the ordinary with the extraordinary to create a memorable and thought-provoking tale.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Which Was the Happiest?“

„Which was the Happiest?“ can be interpreted in various ways, highlighting themes such as happiness, perspective, uniqueness, and gratitude. Here are a few interpretations of the fairy tale:

Happiness is subjective: The story demonstrates that happiness is a subjective experience, and what brings happiness to one individual might not have the same effect on another. Each rose finds happiness in its unique experiences, and there is no universal definition of happiness that applies to everyone.

Perspective matters: The roses‘ perception of their experiences greatly impacts their happiness. They view their circumstances positively, believing they are the happiest among their siblings. This interpretation underscores the importance of adopting a positive outlook to find happiness in life.

Embracing uniqueness: The story also emphasizes the value of embracing one’s uniqueness. The rose with a defect finds happiness in its distinctive appearance and experiences, showing that it is possible to find joy in one’s differences rather than seeking perfection.

Gratitude: The tale highlights the importance of gratitude in finding happiness. Each rose is grateful for its experiences and the attention it receives, allowing them to feel fortunate and content. Practicing gratitude can lead to greater happiness and a more fulfilling life.

The role of others in our happiness: The story shows that the Sunshine, the Dew, the Rose Bush, and the Wind all play a part in creating the roses and their happiness. This interpretation emphasizes the interconnectedness of people and the impact others can have on our well-being.

Ultimately, „Which was the Happiest?“ invites readers to reflect on their own perspectives on happiness and consider the various factors that contribute to their well-being.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Which Was the Happiest?“

„Which was the Happiest?“ is a lesser-known fairy tale by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who is famous for his timeless stories such as „The Little Mermaid,“ „The Ugly Duckling,“ and „The Emperor’s New Clothes.“ „Which was the Happiest?“ is a lesser-known fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, and as such, it has not been widely adapted into various forms of media like some of his more famous stories. However, there have been a few adaptations and references to the tale:

Literature: There are collections of Andersen’s fairy tales that include „Which was the Happiest?“ as part of their compilation, allowing readers to discover and explore this story along with other well-known and lesser-known tales from Andersen. „The Happiest Person Alive“ by Leo Tolstoy: This adaptation of Andersen’s story was written by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy. It tells the story of a wealthy landowner who becomes disillusioned with his life and sets out to find the happiest person in his village. „The Happiest Place on Earth“ by Jennifer Weiner: This contemporary novel takes inspiration from Andersen’s story and follows the lives of several characters who are struggling to find happiness in their lives. „The Happiest Girl in the World“ by Alena Dillon: This modern retelling of Andersen’s fairy tale follows the story of a young woman who becomes a contestant on a reality TV show called „Happily Ever After.“ She must navigate the challenges of fame and public scrutiny while also trying to find true happiness in her life.

Children’s Books:„The Secret of Happiness“ by Amy Friedman: This children’s book retells Andersen’s story with a modern twist. In the book, a young girl named Lizzy sets out to find the secret of happiness after her father loses his job.

Stage plays: Although not as popular as other Andersen tales, some theater groups and schools have taken on the challenge of adapting „Which was the Happiest?“ for the stage, bringing the story to life for a live audience.

Audiobooks: „Which was the Happiest?“ is included in audiobook collections of Andersen’s fairy tales, narrated by storytellers to bring the tale to life for listeners.

While specific examples of adaptations are limited due to the story’s lesser-known status, it is still possible that the tale has been adapted in different forms by various groups and individuals, particularly those interested in exploring the lesser-known works of Hans Christian Andersen. These adaptations of „Which Was the Happiest?“ demonstrate the enduring appeal of Andersen’s fairy tale and its relevance to modern audiences. They also show how the story’s themes of happiness, contentment, and the value of relationships can be explored and reinterpreted in new and creative ways.

Summary of the plot

„Which was the Happiest?“ is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a rose bush and its roses, who each believe themselves to be the happiest among their siblings. The Sunshine, the Dew, and the Rose Bush claim to be the roses‘ mother, but the Wind eventually declares they all had a part in their creation. Each rose has a different experience and believes it is the happiest.

A mother mourning her daughter takes a half-blown rose and places it on her daughter’s breast, and the rose feels honored to receive her kiss and blessing. An old woman picks a full-blown rose to be embalmed in a potpourri, and the rose feels honored to receive such a fate. A painter and a poet each take a rose, capturing its beauty in art and immortalizing it in verse, making the roses feel highly favored.

A rose with a slight defect is kissed by a butterfly and a grasshopper, and serenaded by a nightingale, feeling honored for its uniqueness. Two gentlemen expose the defective rose to tobacco smoke, making it turn green and feel even luckier. A lovely rosebud is placed in a bouquet and taken to a grand event, where it becomes a part of the celebration, feeling the happiness of being in the spotlight.

The stemless rose ends up with a poor old woman who appreciates its beauty and finds happiness in it, making the rose feel truly fortunate. The Wind, having witnessed all the roses‘ stories, concludes that each rose is happy due to their faith in their happiness. The Wind then asks the reader to decide which rose was the happiest, as it has already shared enough of their stories.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
TranslationsDE, EN, DA, ES
Readability Index by Björnsson25.3
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index84.5
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level4.6
Gunning Fog Index7.3
Coleman–Liau Index7.9
SMOG Index8.1
Automated Readability Index3.9
Character Count8.376
Letter Count6.384
Sentence Count125
Word Count1.588
Average Words per Sentence12,70
Words with more than 6 letters200
Percentage of long words12.6%
Number of Syllables2.055
Average Syllables per Word1,29
Words with three Syllables90
Percentage Words with three Syllables5.7%
Questions, comments or experience reports?

Privacy policy.

The best fairy tales

Copyright © 2024 -   Imprint | Privacy policy |All rights reserved Powered by

Keine Internetverbindung

Sie sind nicht mit dem Internet verbunden. Bitte überprüfen Sie Ihre Netzwerkverbindung.

Versuchen Sie Folgendes:

  • 1. Prüfen Sie Ihr Netzwerkkabel, ihren Router oder Ihr Smartphone

  • 2. Aktivieren Sie ihre Mobile Daten -oder WLAN-Verbindung erneut

  • 3. Prüfen Sie das Signal an Ihrem Standort

  • 4. Führen Sie eine Netzwerkdiagnose durch