Wonderful Tales From Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen is the source of many popular stories, some of which have been the basis of several Disney movies. Here we are going to take a look at 5 of the most memorable of his wonderful tales.
Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.
The Princess and the Pea
The tale of a prince looking for a true princess. The ones he has met have all had bad table manners, or have in other ways not been suitable for the prince. Then one night a young woman seeking shelter from the rain asks to stay at the castle, and claims she is a princess. The queen decides to test the young lady by placing a small pea underneath 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds, without telling the self-proclaimed princess. The next day the traveler admits to her hosts that she had a terrible nights sleep, as something hard in the bed kept her awake and has surely bruised her. The prince rejoices, knowing that only a real princess would have the sensitivity to feel the pea underneath all that bedding.
The Little Mermaid
This tale's beginning is very similar to the popular Disney movie bearing the same name. A young mermaid swims to the ocean's surface and falls in love with a young prince. His boat sinks in a storm and she rescues him, placing him on a nearby shore. Soon she longs to become a part of his world and makes a deal with the Sea Witch for a potion that will give her human legs and let her live on the surface but at the cost of her voice. She is also told the potion will be painful, and that her human feet will make it feel as though she is walking on knives.
This version of the story continues in a much darker tone than it's Disney counterpart, but the little mermaid still gets her happy ending: She doesn't get her prince, but is given 300 years to do good deeds as an air-spirit in order to earn a soul.
The Emperor's New Clothes
In this tale, a vain emperor cares about nothing except wearing and displaying his clothes. Wanting the finest clothes in all the land he seeks out two weavers who tell him they can make a very special suit. They say it will be made from invisible fabric which can only be seen by people who are fit for their position, and are not "hopelessly stupid." So as not to be seen unfit: all his advisers claim to see the suit, and the emperor pretends to see it too (though none of them actually see anything).
The weavers pretend to dress the emperor in his new clothes, and he starts marching around the town to show off his new suit. The townspeople all play along, not wanting to appear stupid, until a young child who doesn't know any better shouts that he isn't wearing anything at all. Though the emperor suspects this is true, he continues the procession nonetheless.
The Ugly Duckling
When a mother duck's eggs hatch, one of the little birds is perceived as a homely creature by the other birds and animals on the farm. The poor duckling receives much verbal and physical abuse because of it's appearance. He leaves the farm to live with wild ducks until hunters come and kill the flock. After this he stays at the home of an old woman, but her cat and hen tease him until he decides to leave there as well. The duckling lives out a harsh winter alone in a cave until the lake thaws and swans return to the area. He decides that it would be better to be killed by the beautiful birds rather than live an ugly and miserable life. However, he is surprised to find they accept him into their flock! When he gets a look at his reflection in the water he discovers he has grown into a beautiful swan himself.
The Snow Queen
A troll mirror is shattered and its pieces spread around the world, and into the eyes and hearts of humans. The shards of this mirror cause their hearts to grow cold and their eyes to only see the bad and ugly in all people and things. A young boy named Kai is affected by a shard, and he becomes cold and mean to his grandmother and his best friend Gerda. The only beautiful thing he sees now are snowflakes, and so he sets out in the snow. He is picked up by the Snow Queen who takes him back to her frozen throne, and traps him unless he can use ice to write out a single word. Gerda reaches him and her tears warm his heart, and her love cures him from the shard of the mirror which he cries out in his tears. He can now recognize Gerda, and the two dance around on the ice... when they stop they realize they have spelled out the Snow Queen's word, "eternity". Now free, they go back home to see his grandmother.