The Brothers Grimm wrote down some fairy tales in Low German (Plattdeutsch). This West Germanic language is spoken in northern Germany and it’s hard to understand and to read, if not used to it. One of this Low German tales it's like an Aesopian fable. It tells the story of a hare and a hedgehog (Low German: De Has un de Swinegel, German: Der Hase und der Igel).
Once upon a time noble and self-righteous hare met an unhurried and jovial hedgehog. He makes fun of the hedgehog's short and twisted legs. The hedgehog smiled and said, that he could be faster than the hare. He lured the hare into a bet about a bottle of brandy and a golden coin (Lujedor = Louis d'or). The hedgehog and his wife developed a good plan. In the next morning the races started. Mr Hedgehog never run more than a couple of steps. The hedgehog's similar looking wife waited for the hare at the end of the field. Every time the hare came to the end of the field either Mr. Hedgehog or Mrs. Hedgehog called "I'm already here!" (Low German: Ick bün al hier! German: Ich bin schon hier!). The hare tried again and again until he died of exhaustion.
I love this tale since childhood, because a intelligent brain wins over a trained body. When I found this tiny box on a flea market it was a "must have – must buy". Im a little bit obsessed about boxes since I own the treasure chest of my great-granny.
Sadly I couldn't discover anything about the object. I speculated about matches, gift box, tobacco and more, but there is no hint. It's clean and doesn't smell. I'm sure it's old and not a newly made object. The story was first published in different publications in the 1840s. The tale was very popular in the 19th century – still is. Figurines, illustrations, postcards and photographs like the well known photo from the fairy ball (Joseph Albert, 1862) and more were produced. I'm almost sure the unused box is from this period of time.