A Story of a Darning Needle
A Story of a Darning Needle
There was once a regular darning needle that thought she was so superior that she believed she was an embroidery needle. She didn't want to be used for regular, tedious mending and repair jobs. One day the fingers used the needle on Cook's shoe because the leather had come unstitched.
“Oh, no!” cried the needle. “I shall never get through it. I am breaking! I am breaking!” And she did break. “Didn't I tell you!” said the darning needle. “I am too good to be used for common, dirty work.”
“Now you're good for nothing!” said the fingers. The cook put some sealing wax on the needle and stuck it to the front of her dress.
“Now I am a brooch!” said the darning needle. “I always knew I was meant for great things!” And she laughed to herself. Then she sat up, proud as could be and looked all round her.
“May I ask if you are gold?” she said to her neighbor, the pin. “You have a very nice appearance, but your head is too small! You must try to make it grow, for it is not everyone who has a head of sealing wax as I do.”
And with these words the darning needle raised herself up so proudly that she fell out of the dress and right into the sink, which the cook was rinsing out.
“Now I am off on my travels!” said the darning needle. “I hope I don't get lost!” She did indeed get lost and found herself washed into a gutter.
But the darning needle remembered her elevated origins and did not lose her good temper. All kinds of things swam over her — shavings, bits of straw, scraps of old newspapers, and pieces of glass.
“Just look how they sail along!” said the darning needle. “They have no idea that someone as important as I am is right beneath them. There goes a scrap thinking of nothing in the world but itself, a mere scrap! There goes a straw, a lowly straw. There goes a bit of paper. What is written on it is long ago forgotten. I am sitting patiently and quietly. I know who I am, and that is enough for me!”
One day something lay near her that glittered so brightly that the darning needle thought it must be a diamond. It was only a bit of glass, but because it sparkled, the darning needle spoke to it, telling the glass she was a brooch.
“You must be a diamond,” the darning needle said.
“Yes, something like that,” the glass replied, and each believed that the other was something very important and expensive. They both said how very proud the world must be of them.
“I have come from a lady's sewing box,” said the darning needle, “and this lady was a cook. She had five fingers on each hand; she was proud of those fingers! And yet they were only there to take me out of the sewing box and to put me back again!”
“Were they royal fingers, then?” asked the glass.
“Oh no, but they were proud,” said the darning needle. “They were five brothers, all called ‘fingers.’ They held themselves proudly one against the other, although they were of different sizes. The outside one, the Thumb, was short and fat. He had only one bend in his back and could make only one bow; but he said that if he were cut off from a man, then that man was no longer any use as a soldier. Dipper, the second finger, dipped into all things, pointed to the sun and the moon and the stars, and guided the pen when they wrote. Longman, the third finger, looked at the others over his shoulder. Ringer, the fourth, had a stiff gold belt round his waist. Little Pinkie did nothing at all, and was proud of it! They thought too much of themselves, so I ran away!”
At that moment more water came into the gutter and washed the bottle-glass shard away.
“Oh, now he has been promoted!” said the darning needle. “I remain here.” And she sat there very proudly, thinking lofty thoughts.
One day two kids were playing and wading in the gutter, picking up old nails, pennies, and such. It was rather dirty work, but fun to them.
“Oh, look!” cried out one, as he pricked himself with the darning needle. “He is a fine fellow, isn't he?”
“I am not a fellow! I am a young lady!” said the darning needle; but no one heard. The sealing wax had fallen off, and she had become quite black. But black makes one look very slim, and so she thought she was looking even finer and more fashionable than before.
“Here comes an eggshell sailing along!” said the boys, and they stuck the darning needle into the eggshell.
“The walls are white and I am black — what a great contrast!” said the darning needle. “Now I can be seen at my most flattering.”
Just then the eggshell went “crack” as a horse's hoof crushed it.
“Oh! How it hurts!” said the darning needle. “I am breaking!”
But she did not break. After the horse passed, she lay there at full length. And, I hear, she rests there still, feeling quite proud of herself.