Danish historian finds unknown Andersen fairy tale
2012 12 21

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






Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

Cyclopean Masonry: A Mystery of the Ancient World
2014 04 16
They don’t make things like they used to, and that is, in some cases, a monumental understatement. Silly wordplay notwithstanding, there is something to be said for the construction techniques of the old world. Where modern buildings are designed to withstand the elements; wind, temperature extremes, earthquakes and floods, today’s engineers have to strike a balance between economics ...
Megalithic Origins : Ancient connections between Göbekli Tepe and Peru
2014 04 16
At 6,500 years older than Stonehenge and 7,000 years before the pyramids were constructed, a cult megalithic complex sat atop the hills near current day Sanliurfa, in southeast Turkey. Göbekli Tepe was flourishing an astonishing 12,000 - 14,000 years ago, and today, the preserved remains still exhibits high degrees of sophistication and megalithic engineering skill. Back in the 1990’s when ...
Department of Transportation Uses LRAD Sound Cannons Against Drivers
2014 04 16
The Missouri Department of Transportation revealed two newly acquired LRAD sound cannons this week, which will reportedly be used to target vehicles that speed in work zones. Coming in at $25,000 a piece, the Long-Range Acoustic Device, a sonic weapon best know for its use against protesters and insurgents in Afghanistan, will alert drivers to road conditions by shooting a loud ...
An ’Unknown Holocaust’ and the Hijacking of History
2014 04 16
An address by Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, delivered at an IHR meeting in Orange County, California, on July 25, 2009. (A report on the meeting is posted here.) We hear a lot about terrible crimes committed by Germans during World War II, but we hear very little about crimes committed against Germans. Germany’s defeat in May ...
Ex-Mayor Bloomberg Starting $50 Million Gun-Control Network
2014 04 16
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ramped up his efforts to fight gun violence on Wednesday with a plan to spend $50 million on a grassroots network to organize voters on gun control. The initiative’s political target is the powerful pro-gun lobby, including the National Rifle Association, that spends millions of dollars each year to back gun-rights supporters. Bloomberg’s group, called Everytown ...
More News »