Danish historian finds unknown Andersen fairy tale
By Jan M. Olsen | The Detroit News
For years, the somber fairy tale about a lonely candle who wanted to be lit dwelt in oblivion at the bottom of a box in Denmark’s National Archives. Its recent discovery has sent ripples through the literary world because it is believed to be one of the first tales ever written by Hans Christian Andersen.
A newly found manuscript of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen which has been located in Odense, pictured in the State Archives in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The famed Dane wrote nearly 160 fairy tales in his life, including classics such as "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Little Mermaid." The tale of the candle may have been written when he was still a teen, experts say.
Retired historian Esben Brage said Thursday that he found the six-page text on Oct. 4 while searching through archive boxes that had belonged to wealthy families from Andersen’s hometown of Odense in central Denmark.
The handwritten copy of the tale, entitled "Tallow Candle," and dedicated to a vicar’s widow named Bunkeflod who had lived across from Andersen’s home, had been left seemingly untouched at the bottom of one of the boxes.
"I was ecstatic," Brage said. "I had never imagined this."
The short story tells the tale of how a tallow candle seeks help from a tinder box to be able to ignite itself. A senior curator at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense said the work is likely one of the author’s earliest, written at the age of 18 — seven years before his official debut in 1830.
"I often get calls about stuff thought to have been of Andersen’s hand. Most of the time, it is not. This time I was thrilled," Ejnar Stig Askgaard told the Associated Press. "This is a very early attempt at prose by Andersen, who was then 18."
Askgaard said Andersen regularly visited the Bunkeflod widow, reading to her and borrowing books from her, even after he moved to Copenhagen to attend university.
"The text is not at the level of the more mature fairy tales that we know from Andersen’s later writing," Askgaard said. But "we see traces of Andersen’s history in the text, the language and the themes in the manuscript ... it all fits with him, it all bears his fingerprint."
The Danish language "Doedningen" from 1830 had long been considered Andersen’s first fairy tale. That story was later re-written and published again in 1835 as "The Traveling Companion" — a grim tale about death.
Read the full article at: detroitnews.com
Latest News from our Front Page
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.
|More News » |