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

Hungary’s Orban Bashes Liberal Immigration Policy
2014 08 29
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday lashed out against immigration, setting one of the main policy objectives of his next term in power after winning parliamentary elections in April. “The goal is to cease immigration whatsoever,” said Hungary’s prime minister. “I think the current liberal immigration policy, which is considered obvious and morally based, is hypocrite,” Mr. Orban said. At a ...
China’s “Duplitecture” Cities Mimic the World’s Greatest Architectural Hits
2014 08 29
The best knockoffs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes, but China’s knockoffs go way beyond fashion. There are knockoff Apple stores that look so much like the real thing that some employees believe they are working in real Apple stores. And then there are entire knockoff cities. There are Venices with ...
Kiev loses control of Novoazovsk, rebel troops advance in southeast Ukraine
2014 08 29
Kiev’s troops had to leave the eastern Ukrainian city of Novoazovsk to save their lives, said the country’s Security and Defense Council. The authorities admitted that self-defense forces are advancing and leading a counteroffensive in the southeast. Along with Novoazovsk, Kiev troops have lost control over the villages of Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo in the Donetsk Region of Eastern Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s ...
Mohammed is most popular name in Oslo
2014 08 29
For the first time in the capital city’s history, Mohammed is the most common name for boys and men, said a study on Thursday. Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrå - SSB) has counted the population of Oslo and found that Mohammed is the most common male name in Oslo for the first time ever. Jørgen Ouren of SSB said to NRK: “It is ...
Beaten to Death at McDonald’s
2014 08 29
To the four clean-cut college freshman out on a double date, it had seemed like a typical McDonald’s: spanking clean, well-lighted, and safe. It was in a good neighborhood too, right next to Texas A&M University in College Station -- a campus known for its friendly atmosphere and official down-home greeting: “howdy.” Shortly after 2 A.M. that Sunday, they pulled into ...
More News »