"The Sweethearts; or, The Top and the Ball" (Danish: Kjærestefolkene [Toppen og bolden]) is a fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen about the unrequited love a gilded mahogany top suffers for a leather ball.
The tale was first published in Copenhagen 11 November 1843 by C.A. Reitzel as a part of New Fairy Tales. First Volume. First Collection. 1844. (Nye Eventyr. Første Bind. Første Samling. 1844.) The tale was third in the volume that also included (in contents order) "The Angel" (Engelen), "The Nightingale" (Nattergalen), and "The Ugly Duckling" (Den grimme Ælling). The tale was republished 18 December 1849 as a part of Fairy Tales. 1850. (Eventyr. 1850.) and again on 15 December 1862 as a part of Fairy Tales and Stories. First Volume. 1862. (Eventyr og Historier. Første Bind. 1862.).
With "The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep", "The Teapot" and several other tales, "The Sweethearts" demonstrates Andersen's talent for investing household objects with life, character, and personality.