By Hans Christian Andersen
mother, and brothers, and sisters, were gone
to the play ; only little Anna and her
godfather were left at home.
We'll have a play too,' he said ; ' and it
may begin immediately.'
' But we have no theatre,' cried little
Anna, ' and we have no one to act for us :
my old doll cannot, for she is a fright, and
my new one cannot, for she must not rumple
her new clothes.
' One can always get actors if one makes use
of what one has,' observed Godfather.
' Now we build the theatre. Here we will put
up a book, there another, and there a third,
in a sloping row. Now three on the other
side ; so, now we have the side-scenes.
The old box that lies yonder may be the
background ; and we'll turn the bottom
outwards. The stage represents a room, as
every one may see. Now we want the actors.
Let us see what we can find in the play-box.
First the personages, and then we will get
the play ready : one after
the other, that will be capital ! Here's a
pipe-head, and yonder an odd glove ; they
will do very well for father and daughter.'
But those are only two characters,' said
little Anna. Here 's my brother's old
waistcoat could not that play in our piece,
too ? '
' It 's big enough, certainly,' replied
Godfather. ' It shall be the lover. There's
nothing in the pockets, and that 's very
interesting, for that 's half of an
unfortunate attachment. And here we have the
nut-crackers' boots, with spurs to them. Row,
dow, dow ! how they can stamp and strut !
They shall represent the unwelcome wooer,
whom the lady does not like. What kind of
play will you have now ? Shall it be a
tragedy, or a domestic drama ? '
' A domestic drama, please,' said little
Anna ; ' for the others are so fond of that.
Do you know one ? '
* I know a hundred,' said Godfather. ' Those
that are most in favour are from the French,
but they are not good for little girls. In
the meantime, we may take one of the
prettiest, for inside they're all very much
alike. Now I shake the pen ! Cock-a-lorum !
So now, here 's the play,
brin-bran-span new ! Now listen to the play
And Godfather took a newspaper, and read as
if he were reading from it :
THE PIPE-HEAD AND THE GOOD HEAD
Drama in one Act
MR. PIPE- HEAD, a father. MR. WAISTCOAT, a
Miss GLOVE, a daughter. MR. DE BOOTS, a
And now we're going to begin. The curtain
rises : we have no curtain, so it has risen
already. All the characters are there, and
so we have them at hand. Now I speak as Papa
Pipe-head ! he 's angry to-day. One can see
that he 's a coloured meerschaum.
' "Snip-snap-snurre, bassellurre ! I'm
master in my own house ! I'm the father of
my daughter ! Will you hear what I have to
say ? Mr. de Boots is a person in whom one
may see one's face ; his upper part is of
morocco, and he has spurs into the bargain.
Snip -snap -snurre ! He shall
have my daughter ! "
' Now listen to what the Waistcoat says,
little Anna,' said Godfather. ' Now the
Waistcoat 's speaking. The Waistcoat has a
lie-down collar, and is very modest ; but he
knows his own value, and has quite a right
to say what he says :
'"I haven't a spot on me ! Goodness of
material ought to be appreciated. I am of
real silk, and have strings to me." '
' " On the wedding day, but no longer ; you
don't keep your colour in the wash." This is
Mr. Pipe-head who is speaking. "Mr. de Boots
is water-tight, of strong leather, and yet
very delicate ; he can creak, and clank with
his spurs, and has an Italian physiognomy
But they ought to speak in verse,' said
Anna, ' for I've heard that 's the most
charming way of all.'
' They can do that too,' replied Godfather ;
' and as the public demands, so one talks.
Just look at little Miss Glove, how she 's
pointing her fingers !
Rather live and wait,
A glove without
a mate !
If I from him must part,
I'm sure 'twill
break my heart !
' Bah ! '
That last word was spoken by Mr. Pipe-head ;
and now it 's Mr. Waistcoat's turn :
Glove, my own dear,
Though it cost thee a tear,
Thou must be mine,
For Holger the Dane has sworn it !
Mr. de Boots, hearing this, kicks up,
jingles his spurs, and knocks down three of
' That 's exceedingly charming ! ' cried
little Anna. ' Silence ! silence ! ' said
Godfather. ' Silent approbation will show
that you are the educated public in the
stalls. Now Miss Glove sings her great song
with startling effects :
I cannot talk, heigho !
And therefore I will crow !
Kikkeriki, in the lofty hall !
' Now comes the exciting part, little Anna.
This is the most important in all the play.
Mr. Waistcoat undoes himself, and addresses
his speech to you, that you may applaud ;
but leave it alone, that 's considered more
' "I am driven to extremities ! Take care of
yourself ! Now comes the plot ! You are the
Pipe-head, and I am the good head snap !
there you go ! "
' Do you notice this, little Anna ? ' asked
Godfather. ' That 's a most charming scene
and comedy. Mr. Waistcoat seized the old
Pipe-head, and put him in his pocket ; there
he lies, and the Waistcoat says :
" You are in my pocket ; you can't come out
till you promise to unite me to your
daughter Glove on the left : I hold out my
right hand." ' That 's awfully pretty,' said
little Anna. ' And now the old Pipe-head
My head's in a hum,
So confused I've become ;
Where 's my humour ? Gone, I fear,
And I feel my hollow stick's not here.
Ah ! never, my dear,
Did I feel so queer.
Oh ! take out my head
From your pocket, I pray ;
And my daughter and you
May be married to-day.
Is the play over already ? asked little
Anna. ' By no means,' replied Godfather. '
It 's only all over with Mr. de Boots. Now
the lovers kneel down, and one of them sings
Father! and the other,
Take back your
And bless your son and daughter.
receive his blessing, and celebrate their
wedding, and all the pieces of furniture
sing in chorus,
A thousand thanks ;
And now the play is over !
' And now we'll applaud said Godfather.
We'll call them all out, and the pieces of
furniture too, for they are of mahogany.'
' And is our play just as good as those
which the others have in the real theatre ?
' Our play is much better/ said Godfather. '
It is shorter, it has been given free, and
it ha^ passed away the hour before tea-time.'