Sunday, February 16, 2020

Fairy Tales and Stories

The book I'm re-reading is one I purchased new several years ago because this author was one of my favorites as a child. This book contains about 160 fairy tales and stories. (no pictures) I haven't opened it until this week while waiting for another to be available at our local library. I find it amusing and interesting now, about 74 years later. 

Hans Christian Anderson was born on April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark. He was a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels and poems, and is best remembered for his fairy tales. His popularity isn't limited to children. His stories express themes that transcend age and nationality. His father was a shoemaker and his mother earned money washing other people's clothes. They spoiled him and encouraged him to develop his imagination.
Below is an excerpt I found on one of his biographies. 

Fairy tales

Andersen began his fairy-tale writing by retelling folk tales he had heard as a child from his grandmother and others. Soon, however, he began to create his own stories. Most of his tales are original. The first volumes written from 1835 to 1837 contained nineteen stories and were called Fairy Tales Told for Children. In 1845 the title changed to New Fairy Tales. The four volumes appearing with this title contained twenty-two original tales and are considered Andersen's finest works. In 1852 the title was changed to Stories, and from then on the volumes were called New Fairy Tales and Stories. During the next years Andersen published a number of volumes of fairy tales. His last works of this type appeared in 1872. Among his most popular tales are "The Ugly Duckling," "The Princess and the Pea," and "The Little Mermaid."
At first Andersen was not very proud of his fairy-tale writing, and, after talks with friends and Danish critics, he considered giving them up. But he later came to believe that the fairy tale would be the "universal poetry" (poetry that exists in all cultures) of which so many romantic writers dreamed. He saw fairy tales as the poetic form of the future, combining folk art and literature and describing both the tragic and the comical elements of life. Andersen's tales form a rich, made-up world. While children can enjoy most of the tales, the best of them are written for adults as well. The tales also take on different meanings to different readers, a feat only a great poet can accomplish. Andersen died in Copenhagen, Denmark, on August 4, 1875.
Some of his tales within the original text have a level of sadness, despair, ugliness and outright weirdness!!  My reading today was one of them! "Thumbelina" — a very creepy tale about child brides, tiny people and witches! So... get on your daring attire, dig up some gumption and give Hans a try! I'm having a grand time!
Drawing by David Devine


  1. Enjoy the read. It’s different to go back and interesting read.

  2. I grew up on those old fairy tales. Some of his tales are so sad like The Little Match Girl. My favorite is The Ugly Duckling. Now, I am wanting to reread it.