Hans Christian Andersen | Sunday Observer

Hans Christian Andersen

31 January, 2021

I am sure that many of you would have have enjoyed reading the fairy tales, The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and Thumbelina at some time or the other. These delightful stories are the creations of a ‘teller of tales’ from Denmark and these tales are as popular now as they were, when, first written by him in the mid 1,800s.

Truly amazing

What is truly amazing about Hans Christian Andersen, the writer of so many lovely stories is that he suffered from dyslexia, a medical problem which caused problems with reading and writing.

Although Hans Christian Andersen wrote hundreds of novels, plays and poems for both the young and old, it is his fairy tales which have remained well loved for over 150 years.

Hans Christian Andersen was born in the city of Odense, Denmark on April 2, 1805. His family was poor. His father, also named Hans was a shoemaker and his mother, Anne Marie washed clothes for clients. His father died when Hans was eleven and his mother Anne Marie re-married in 1818.

Until he was 14-years-old, Hans went to a school for the poor in Odense. He then moved to the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen to follow a career as an actor or a dancer. It is also said that the King of Denmark had helped Hans Christian Andersen to complete his education.

A friend advised Hans Andersen to concentrate on his writing. Soon, his stories became very popular all over the continent of Europe and Andersen received many invitations to the homes of rich and powerful people.

Hans Christian Andersen love to travel and travelled all over Europe. He always carried a length of rope with him thinking that it will act as a fire escape if there is a fire at a place where he stayed during his travels.

First story

He published his first story in 1822 called the Ghost at Palnakote’s Grave. His first book of fairy tales came out between 1835 and 1837 and contained nine well loved fairy tales ,The Tinderbox, Little Claus and Big Claus, The Princess and the Pea, Little Ida’s Flowers, Thumbelina, The Naughty Boy, The Travelling Companion, The Little Mermaid, and The Emperor’s New Clothes.

In Denmark, his fairy tales are called Eventyr and he published them in short volumes till 1972.

Though most of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytales had unhappy endings they became extremely popular and have been translated into more than 125 different languages.

Numerous films, TV shows, ballets, and plays have been created based on Hans Andersen’s stories. The well loved Disney films, The Little Mermaid, Fantasia 2000, and Frozen are all based on Andersens fairytales which have stood the test of time.

Hans Christian Andersen also published many famous poems.

Hans Christian Andersen died on August 4, 1875 at the age of 70 years.