The Shirt-Collar by Hans Christian Andersen, 1848
The magic trick:
Employing zero subtly whatsoever in delivering a moral
Well, maybe it’s not among Hans Christian Andersen’s strongest stories, but, hey, it’s still pretty good.
This is a story with a moral. And the moral is not left up to the reader’s interpretation. No points here for being subtle.
The closing paragraph literally includes a sentence that begins: “And this is a warning to us…”
And that’s quite a trick on Andersen’s part.
“You must not speak to me,” said the garter; “I do not think I have given you any encouragement to do so.”
“Oh, when any one is as beautiful as you are,” said the shirt-collar, “is not that encouragement enough?”
“Get away; don’t come so near me,” said the garter, “you appear to me quite like a man.”
“I am a fine gentleman certainly,” said the shirt-collar, “I possess a boot-jack and a hair-brush.” This was not true, for these things belonged to his master; but he was a boaster.
“Don’t come so near me,” said the garter; “I am not accustomed to it.”
“Affectation!” said the shirt-collar.
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