I’ve been on a Hans Christian Andersen kick lately, reading a bunch of his stories on this site I found, partially out of curiosity and partially because I want to be able to say that I’ve read his entire works. This led me, most recently, to Little Ida’s Flowers, an incredibly adorable tale about a young girl and her imagination. The story begins with Ida and a university student as she asks him to tell her why a pair of flowers are wilting. Not to bog her down with the sadness that comes alongside the knowledge that the flowers may be dying, the student proceeds to inform Ida of a rather magical tale about how the flowers all go to grand balls, sometimes up at the castle, and dance themselves into exhaustion so that the next day they are simply far too tired to keep their leaves and petals standing up straight. A lawyer soon finds this imagination nonsense unacceptable to tell a child and eventually Ida is left to imagine the truth of the story on her own. And imagine it she does.
I loved the whimsy of this story, the adorableness of Ida’s imagination, and so much more. It’s funny, in a way, because I could also identify with the stuffy old lawyer who does not fully believe in lying to children because I understand the importance of teaching them the truth about the world and not pushing them into too much magical thinking, but children do need their imagined worlds as well. And Ida, I’m sure, would eventually grow up to learn the truth of her dancing flowers even if she doesn’t quite know it just yet.
This is a fairly quick and fun read, something I would love to read to kids. There’s a lot of fun in a book with a story like this and I definitely enjoyed it.