Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark, on April 2, 1805. His father died when he was quite young, leaving him and his mother alone. Andersen’s first schooling was for poor children, but he later gained the attention of more wealthy people and finished school at a much higher class place. He worked as a weaver and a tailor, before ending up as an actor in Copenhagen.
Andersen’s first writing was for adults, not children. Later he began rewriting some of the fairy tales his father had read to him as a child, publishing his first collection in 1835. However, his work went mostly unremarked in Scandinavia. It wasn’t until he met Charles Dickens and his stories were translated into English that he began to receive notice. Over time, people came to recognize the genius of this amazing author. He died from a serious injury suffered in a fall in 1872.
Today, Andersen’s fairy tales have been translated into countless languages, and have appeared in many and varied media, and have influenced other writers for children such as A. A. Milne, and Beatrix Potter. I had a book of his fairy tales when I was young. I don’t remember who the illustrator was, only that some of the pictures terrified me! But the stories: The Snow Queen, Little Mermaid, the Steadfast Tin Soldier, the Ugly Duckling and others have always stayed with me in my imagination.
Why talk about a writer of fairy tales? As Neil Gaiman reminds us, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
Quotes by Hans Christian Andersen
The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.
Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.
Nothing is too high for a man to reach, but he must climb with care and confidence
Everything you look at can become a fairy tale and you can get a story from everything you touch.
Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.
To be of use to the world is the only way to be happy.
My life will be the best illustration of all my work.
Where words fail, music speaks.
The wiser a man becomes, the more he will read, and those who are wisest read most.
Life is like a beautiful melody, only the lyrics are messed up.
We cannot expect to be happy always … by experiencing evil as well as good we become wise.
But shouldn’t all of us on earth give the best we have to others and offer whatever is in our power?
When the bird of the heart begins to sing, too often will reason stop up her ears.
Happy domestic life is like a beautiful summer’s evening; the heart is filled with peace; and everything around derives a peculiar glory.
My life is a lovely story, happy and full of incident.
Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg.
It is out of reality that the most peculiar tale of all is born … Some call me the Elder Granny, others – the Dryad, but my real name is Memory. It is I who sits on a tree that keeps on growing, and growing, it is I who reminisces and tells stories.
Each time I think that the song is ended … something higher and better begins for me.
I covet honour in the same way as a miser covets gold.
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