Once a little boy was given a birthday present of a set of twenty-five tin soldiers. All the soldiers had shiny red and blue uniforms and gleaming tin muskets.
However, one of the soldiers stood out from the rest because he had only one leg. In the same nursery there were many other toys. There were wax puppets and jack-in-the-boxes. There were playing cards and porcelain dolls. There were colour pencils and bouncing balls. There also lived a beautiful, dancing ballerina doll who stood at the entrance to a cardboard castle which had a small mirror for a lake in front of it.
She balanced herself on one leg so well that the tin soldier thought that she had only one leg. She wore a blue dress with a scarf. The scarf had a tinsel rose pinned on it in the centre. The tin soldier admired the ballerina from .a distance and soon fell in love with her. “But she is so beautiful and she lives in a beautiful castle! She will not like me at all!” thought the poor tin soldier and felt very sad.
A goblin, who also lived in the same nursery, did not like the tin soldier at all. He was jealous of the tin soldier whenever the ballerina smiled at him. The ballerina really liked the one-legged tin soldier in his smart red uniform.
One day, the goblin warned the tin soldier, “You better stay away from the ballerina! She is mine! I am warning you!” But the tin soldier loved the ballerina so much that he just couldn’t stop admiring her.
One day, the puppets were playing together and the ballerina was dancing prettily. It was raining heavily outside. The tin soldier was standing on the windowsill and watching the dancing doll. The window was open. The angry goblin crept behind the tin soldier and pushed him out of the window. Two boys, who were passing by found him on the street and floated him down a gutter in a paper boat. The little tin soldier flowed away in the water, into the drain nearby. He was heartbroken because Ire feared lie would never see his ballerina ever again.
He saw a huge rat but the tin soldier was brave and holding onto his musket he floated away just in time and escaped. In the dark drain, the poor one-legged tin soldier had to fight many rats. The drain led into a canal where the water swirled fiercely, and here the little paper boat was torn. A fish saw the tin soldier and swallowed him. He lay inside the fish for three days, in the dark.
The tin soldier thought that he would die inside the fish. One day, a fishermen caught the fish and sold it in the market. A lady bought the fish from the market. Now this lady happened to be the little boy’s mother. Soon, the fish was being prepared for dinner in their kitchen. When the cook cut the fish, she found the tin soldier. Exclaiming in wonder, she called the boy and gave him the tin soldier.
The tin soldier was very happy to be back in the same house with the same toys! He saw his beautiful ballerina dancing at the end of the table. while he stood at the other end.
But alas! The naughty little boy did not like the tin soldier anymore and he threw the poor tin soldier into the fireplace. Suddenly, there was a gush of strong, cold wind which blew the ballerina as well, into the fire. The tin soldier and the ballerina melted in the fire. The next morning. when a maid cleaned the fireplace of the ashes, she found a tiny red tin heart and tiny red rose. These belonged to the tin soldier and the ballerina. who were finally together.