Andersen's Fairy Tales HTML version
The False Collar
There was once a fine gentleman, all of whose moveables were a boot-jack and a hair-
comb: but he had the finest false collars in the world; and it is about one of these collars
that we are now to hear a story.
It was so old, that it began to think of marriage; and it happened that it came to be washed
in company with a garter.
"Nay!" said the collar. "I never did see anything so slender and so fine, so soft and so neat.
May I not ask your name?"
"That I shall not tell you!" said the garter.
"Where do you live?" asked the collar.
But the garter was so bashful, so modest, and thought it was a strange question to answer.
"You are certainly a girdle," said the collar; "that is to say an inside girdle. I see well that
you are both for use and ornament, my dear young lady."
"I will thank you not to speak to me," said the garter. "I think I have not given the least
occasion for it."
"Yes! When one is as handsome as you," said the collar, "that is occasion enough."
"Don't come so near me, I beg of you!" said the garter. "You look so much like those men-
"I am also a fine gentleman," said the collar. "I have a bootjack and a hair-comb."
But that was not true, for it was his master who had them: but he boasted.
"Don't come so near me," said the garter: "I am not accustomed to it."
"Prude!" exclaimed the collar; and then it was taken out of the washing-tub. It was
starched, hung over the back of a chair in the sunshine, and was then laid on the ironing-
blanket; then came the warm box-iron. "Dear lady!" said the collar. "Dear widow-lady! I
feel quite hot. I am quite changed. I begin to unfold myself. You will burn a hole in me.
Oh! I offer you my hand."
"Rag!" said the box-iron; and went proudly over the collar: for she fancied she was a
steam-engine, that would go on the railroad and draw the waggons. "Rag!" said the box-