Hans Christian Andersen




Hans Christian Andersen, born April 2, 1805 in Odense, was a Danish writer and poet.

In his early days, Andersen wanted to become an opera singer. In 1819 he went to Copenhagen to pursuit that dream. His voice, however, was too weak and he was accepted as a dance student at the Royal Theater. The Director of the Theater, Jonas Collin took him under his protection and remained his friend until the end of his life. Personally King Frederick VI was interested in the boy and arranged for him to study for free in the classical school in Slagelze.

In 1822, even before starting school, Andersen released in his first book. He achieved a great success with “A Journey on Foot from Holman’s Canal to the East Point of Amager (1829),” also published in German, and in 1833 received a travel grant from the king. That way Andersen made his first travels across Europe, visiting Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy.

In early 1835 his first novel, named “Improviser”, and later that year the first volume of Andersen’s Fairy Tales, were released. In 1837, he created perhaps his most famous novel, “Only a fiddler”. The short stories book “Album without pictures,” released in 1840, brought Andersen even more success.

In the style of the German romantics Andersen did a lot of travelling – to find himself in the world and the world in himself. In 1840-41, after visiting Germany, Italy, Malta and Greece, he came to Istambul and returned home through the Black Sea and the Danube. Andersen tells about his travelling experience in the book “A poet’s bazaar.”

Almost until the end of his life Andersen traveled to countries near and far. He was kindly welcomed by his contemporaries everywhere he went – Heine, Hugo, Balzac, the father of Dumas, Dickens, composer Robert Schumann.

Andersen died on August 4th, 1875 near Copenhagen, crowned with a worldwide fame. Between 1835 and 1872 he created over 150 fairy tales and stories, later translated into about 125 languages. In his honor a monument that became a symbol of Copenhagen – a bronze statue of the little mermaid, was erected. The most prestigious award in the world of children’s literature is named after Hans Christian Andersen.

The Little Mermaid

Far out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower, and as clear as crystal, it is very, very deep; so deep, indeed, that no cable could fathom it: many church steeples, piled one upon another, would not reach from the ground beneath to the surface of the water above. There dwell the Sea King and his subjects. We

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The Princess and the Pea

Once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have to be a real princess. He travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted. There were princesses enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones. There was always something about them that was

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The Ugly Duckling

It was lovely summer weather in the country, and the golden corn, the green oats, and the haystacks piled up in the meadows looked beautiful. The stork walking about on his long red legs chattered in the Egyptian language, which he had learnt from his mother. The corn-fields and meadows were surrounded by large forests, in the midst of which were deep pools. It

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The Fir Tree

Out in the woods stood a nice little Fir Tree. The place he had was a very good one: the sun shone on him: as to fresh air, there was enough of that, and round him grew many large-sized comrades, pines as well as firs. But the little Fir wanted so very much to be a grown-up tree. He did not think of the

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Thumbelina

There was once a woman who wished very much to have a little child, but she could not obtain her wish. At last she went to a fairy, and said, “I should so very much like to have a little child; can you tell me where I can find one?” “Oh, that can be easily managed,” said the fairy. “Here is a barleycorn of

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The old house

In the street, up there, was an old, a very old house,it was almost three hundred years old, for that might be known by reading the great beam on which the date of the year was carved: together with tulips and hop-binds there were whole verses spelled as in former times, and over every window was a distorted face cut out in the beam.

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The Happy Family

There was once an old estate where no one now lived to require snails; indeed, the owners had all died out, but the burdock still flourished; it grew over all the beds and walks of the garden—its growth had no check—till it became at last quite a forest of burdocks. Here and there stood an apple or a plum-tree; but for this, nobody would

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The Red Shoes

Once upon a time there was little girl, pretty and dainty. But in summer time she was obliged to go barefooted because she was poor, and in winter she had to wear large wooden shoes, so that her little instep grew quite red. In the middle of the village lived an old shoemaker’s wife; she sat down and made, as well as she could,

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The Little Match-Seller

It was terribly cold and nearly dark on the last evening of the old year, and the snow was falling fast. In the cold and the darkness, a poor little girl, with bare head and naked feet, roamed through the streets. It is true she had on a pair of slippers when she left home, but they were not of much use. They were

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The Emperor’s New Suit

Many, many years ago lived an emperor, who thought so much of new clothes that he spent all his money in order to obtain them; his only ambition was to be always well dressed. He did not care for his soldiers, and the theatre did not amuse him; the only thing, in fact, he thought anything of was to drive out and show a

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