Hans Christian Andersen, the tall, gangly author from Odense, was introduced to literature by his father who read the Arabian Nights to him as a child. Although he is best known for his fairy tales, Andersen also wrote plays, travelogues, novels and poems. He was also a talented paper cutter, illustrator, singer and flower arranger.
The collections of fairy tales, which include over 3,000 works, have been translated into more than 125 languages and are popular because their themes illustrate lessons to which children and adults of all ages and of all nationalities can relate. Fairy tales which have become the most famous include The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Match Girl, The Snow Queen, The Nightingale and Thumbelina. Ballets, plays, music, television and films have been based on his writings.
Andersen traveled extensively and published several travelogues which combined descriptions of the sights he saw along with a bit of philosophy, travel sketches and even fairy tales.
From the Little Mermaid statue in the Copenhagen Harbor, to the traditional woven Danish hearts that grace the Christmas tree and the familiar tales that offer messages of resilience and hope, Hans Christian Andersen’s creativity is celebrated around the world.
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