Saturday, April 2, 2022

Apr. 2: Hans Christian Andersen, Danish author of fairy tales


Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was a Danish author who actually wrote plays, travel literature, novels, and poems, but we remember him today for his 156 fairy tales. One list of his "top ten" includes "The Emperor's New Clothes," about a vain emperor who gets exposed before his subjects; "The Little Mermaid," who wants to gain a human soul; "The Nightingale," in which the real thing competes with a mechanical bird for an emperor's favor; "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," who loves a paper ballerina; "The Red Shoes," about a vain girl forced to dance non-stop in her fancy footwear; "The Princess and the Pea," about a young woman whose sensitivity proves her royal ancestry; "The Snow Queen," on the struggle between good and evil as played out in the love between two children, Gerda and her friend Kai; "The Ugly Duckling," about a baby bird who is more than he seems; "The Little Match Girl," about a dying child's dreams and hope; and "Thumbelina," about a tiny girl who dodges loathsome critters to marry a flower-fairy prince. Many of Andersen's stories have inspired ballets, plays, and animated and live-action films.


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