320 A STORY ABOUT A DARNING-NEEDLE
' I am too fine for this world !' said she as she lay in the gutter ; ' but I know who I am, and that is always a little satisfaction !'
' And the Darning-needle kept her proud bearing and did not lose her good-temper.
All kinds of things swam over her—shavings, bits of straw, and scraps of old newspapers.
'Just look how they sail along!' said the Darning-needle. (They don't know what is underneath them! Here I am sticking fast! There goes a shaving thinking of nothing in the world but of itself, a mere chip ! There goes a straw—well, how it does twist and twirl, to be sure ! Don't think so much about yourself, or you will be knocked against a stone. There floats a bit of newspaper. What is written on it is long ago forgotten, and yet how proud it is ! I am sitting patient and quiet. I know who I am, and that is enough for me ! '
One day something thick lay near her which glittered so brightly that the Darning-needle thought it must be a diamond. But it was a bit of bottle-glass, and because it sparkled the Darning-needle spoke to it, and gave herself out as a breast-pin.
' No doubt you are a diamond ? '
' Yes, something of that kind! ' And each believed that the other was something very costly ; and they both said how very proud the world must be of them.
' I have come from a lady's work-box,' said Darning-needle, ' and this lady was a cook ; she had five fingers on each hand ; anything so proud as these fingers I have never seen ! And yet they were only there to take me out of the work-box and to put me back again! '
' Were they of noble birth, then ? ' asked the bit of bottle-glass.
' Of noble birth!' said the Darning-needle ; ' no indeed, but proud ! 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 was outside the rank, and had only one bend in his back, and could only make one bow ; but he said that if he were cut off from a man that he was no longer any use as a soldier. Dip-into-everything, the second finger, dipped into sweet things as well as sour things, pointed to the sun and the moon, and guided the pen when they wrote. Longman, the third, looked at the others over his shoulder. Goldband, the fourth, had a gold sash round his waist; and little Playman did nothing at all, and was the more proud. There was too much ostentation, and so I came away.'