Lifestyle & Belief

Dane finds Hans Christian Andersen's 'first' fairy tale, 'The Tallow Candle'


The gravestone of Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen is seen on July 2, 2008 in Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen.


Jens N?rgaard Larsen

A Danish researcher has found a hand-written copy of the first fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen, titled "The Tallow Candle," in the author’s native city of Odense.

"The Tallow Candle" tells the story of a candle unaware of its beauty until it was lit, BBC reported.

It is thought that Andersen wrote "The Tallow Candle in the 1820s, while still a schoolboy.

The ink-written manuscript, dedicated "To Mme Bunkeflod, from her devoted HC Andersen," is probably a copy of the original, probably made by the family to whom it was dedicated.

Agence France-Presse reported that the manuscript was found in Denmark's National Archive, described by Ejnar Stig Askgaard of the Odense City Museum as a "sensational discovery."

Askgaard, a leading Hans Christian Andersen expert in Denmark, told Politiken newspaper:

"Partly because it must be seen as Andersen's first fairy tale, and partly because it shows that he was interested in the fairy tale as a young man, before his authorship began."

The newspaper has run the short fairy tale in full on its website.

Hans Christian Andersen lived from 1805 until 1875, and his poetry, travel articles and fairy tales have been translated into 125 languages, AFP wrote.

He left behind hundreds of fairy tales, including "Thumbelina," "The Mermaid," "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Tinderbox," Voice of Russia added.

Archive director Mads Peter Christensen told the Politiken that staff had been contacted by the researcher who disclosed the discovery.