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Literature / The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf

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The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf is a Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a girl who isn't exactly the nicest girl in the world. And one day she chooses to put a loaf of bread over a puddle to step on and ends up sucked right down to Hell.

One of Andersen's more bizarre and obscure tales to say the least.

This story provide examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: The cruel, vain protagonist becomes a statue in Hell, able to hear everything said about her on Earth, almost all of which is nasty until an angel begins to cry for her and sets her soul free.
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  • Beauty = Goodness: Averted with the girl, she is vain and it gets her into trouble.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Inger gets a new chance you know as a bird who may have flown straight into the sun.
  • Break the Haughty: The Girl is a vain and stubborn person who ends up being broken down and realize how bad she was.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Not wanting to visit your family because you're ashamed of how poor they are, and using the loaf you're supposed to give them as a stepping-stone to stop your shoes getting muddy? Kind of a Jerkass move. She did also have a habit of torturing animals for fun...worth going to Hell for?
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: When you're in hell as a statute, an angel crying for you gives you a new chance as a bird. Well it was an improvement.
  • No Name Given: Specifically only Inger is named exactly.
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  • Satan: He appears directly in the story, as well as his grandmother or great-grandma whoever that may be.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Inger. The story of the hapless girl who trod on the loaf was already known as a morality tale in Denmark before Andersen altered the ending. Andersen may have thought that even a vain girl like Inger should have a chance for salvation, and wrote a new ending into the traditional tale.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Depending on translation, the girl's name is usually either Inge or Inger.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Only one girl who later grows up feels sad for Poor Inger. And in the end it pays off for her.
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