Well, I had never heard of this story from Hans Christian Andersen before, but I have to say the title immediately intrigued me. Soup From A Sausage Peg?!
It starts with explaining just exactly what soup from a sausage peg means. It talks about the saying being from Denmark. The storyteller tells the reader that we’ll learn from a group of mice as our leftovers are their feasts.
The mice are having a royal banquet and one mouse has brought a sausage end complete with sausage peg. The King has to decide who to marry. He decides that whoever can bring him the recipe from the fabled soup from a sausage peg will be his bride. The competition is open to everyone so it’s not just princesses that can enter. This gives field mice a chance to get the recipe!
The first mouse princess searched for the recipe. Fairies come and ask for the sausage peg. The first princess says she’ll lend them the peg and then they snatch it away. They throw it into the sky, making a May Pole which they then dance around. The May Pole explodes and dew starts to fall. The mouse princess showed the fairies kindness, so they said they’d grant her a wish. She, of course, wants to know the recipe for the soup! The fairies tell her that they showed her how to make something wonderful from the sausage peg. She whined about wanting the actual recipe which is something they couldn’t give her. The mouse princess gave up after days and went back to the royal court.
The second mouse princess asked advice from her grandmother. Her grandmother said that she should become a poet, because poets cooked up a lot of ideas through wisdom, imagination and feeling. The princess went to see some ants because they were seen to be the wisest creatures of them all. The princess ate the ant to get wisdom into her! To get imagination into her, she ate a feather from a poet’s quill. In order to get feeling into her she actually devoured romantic stories. She returned to the royal court and told her King that she had amazing wisdom, imagination and feeling so that’s how he should get soup from a sausage peg. He turned her down…
The third mouse princess visited a wise owl who she had heard mention soup from a sausage peg. The moust helped the owl train her children. In return, the owl told the mouse all she knew about the soup. When the mouse returned to court, she told the King that no such recipe existed. It was just a saying meaning everything and nothing.
The King realises that he will have to pick a bride anyway otherwise he would have to stand down. It is then that the kitchen mouse pipes up and says there is a recipe. The kitchen mouse cleverly tells the King that all you need is boiling water, a sausage peg and a royal mouse tail. The King believes her and makes her his wife!
I didn’t expect to like this tale as much as I did! It was very charming. I love a clever, sly character!