Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

ISBN: 0517453754
ISBN 13: 9780517453759
By: Hans Christian Andersen Lily Owens

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Children Children's Childrens Classic Classics Fairy Tales Fantasy Favorites Fiction To Read

About this book

Lilly Owens, ed. Illustrated edition of 159 cherished tales that have enchanted readers for generations. Includes The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes, Snow Queen, all uncut with beautiful illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Hans Richter, et al. 60 B&W illustrations. 816 pages.

Reader's Thoughts


Não era exactamente esta edição (era uma edição portuguesa) mas eu time um livro em tudo semelhante a este, mais o menos do mesmo ano. Quando comecei a ser capaz de ler sozinha, li-o tantas vezes que acabou por perder a capa e algumas folhas. Infelizmente não sei o que foi feito do meu adorado livro. Todas as crianças deviam lê-lo. Todos os adultos deviam lê-lo. É maravilhoso!It wasn't exactly this edition (it was a portuguese edition) but I had this similar book from about the same year. When I was abble to read by my own, I read this book so many times taht the book ended up withou the cover and some pages were lost. Saddly, I lost track of my loved book.Every childrem should read it. Every adult should read it. So wonderful!

Thom Swennes

The first building blocks of most peoples’ literary and reading world began with fairy tales. Even before the written word made sense in a child’s mind these tales were already embedded. At night before they slept a soothing voice would read of “Once upon a time” and even if the child drifted off to sleep before the last words were read they would feel at ease as the ending of “and they lived happily ever after” was sure to be spoken. The Complete Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen is filled with stories that bade me goodnight so many years ago. In a literal sense I now much prefer fables as they are assuredly end with a moral. I can’t (in good faith) recommend this book to everyone as I am sure many have long passed it. For me, however, it afforded a glimpse of a time when I truly believed that fairy tale ending were inevitable.

S.J. Pettersson

HCA seems like such a close friend and fellow human traveller to me. Once in Denmark, in front of a beautiful bronze statue of him sitting calmly on a chair, I felt so close to his pain. And what could be a better way of dedicating your life than instead of wallowing in your personal pain, than to spread beauty and kindness through your art and immortal words. I don't think there has ever been a writer who managed to stay so true to his own personal difficulties and struggles and yet at the same time complete story upon story bringing so much hope and faith to humanity (and interestingly enough especially to women) as he managed to do. And at the same time he bared his naked soul complete with all it's repressed desires, amorous, sexual and otherwise, perennial disappointments and broken dreams. This literary giant from Odense proved once and for all that no compromises are necessary when it comes to self expression. My favorite living composer (and an acolyte of the great Schnittke) was given the honor of composing a ballet based on The Little Mermaid for the inaugural concert at the new Opera House in Copenhagen, with choreography of the great Neumeier who worked with Schnittke himself on his masterpiece Peer Gynt. Lera Auerbach created a ballet truly on par with HCA's short story's darker side, the darker parallel aspect of his work so often ignored for the sake of translations appropriate for children. To win something you have to risk it all and when it becomes necessary to pay the bill you face the consequences, however harsh and painful. That is the true cost of Kierkegaard's great Leap of Faith into the Unknown. And Hans Christian Andersen knew this and willingly paid the price. We owe him our gratitude, admiration, respect and above all; our love.


This is bittersweet for me. Being from Denmark, I've grown up listening to H.C. Andersen's stories. He's like our number one cultural treasure. When it comes to certain stories, I been forced to read them so many times I've grown sick of them. Danish teachers would time and time again make us go through the same stories, and there were a few years, when even the mention of his name would make me want to scream. It was simply too much of a good thing.But he's written so many stories, and as I got older and read more of his work, I started appreciate that he was an excellent writer, who wrote many wonderful stories. What I really like, is how there are so many levels to his fairytales. When you read them as an adult, especially if you know a bit about him, they are so much more than just simple fairytales.


author : Hans Anderson. How have I never heard this name before. How is it even possible. This man has created the most poignant of my childhood stories and I have come to know about him so late in my life. Well, at least it was not unlike the other learning of my life : always late but you will get there, trust me!The tales are familiar because they have been adopted in all possible media since decades. Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea, The king's new Clothes, The Mermaid were beyond fun. It was like going on that roller coaster ride when you know you will end up all nauseous and wobbly but still you so damn enjoy the process leading up to it that you are game for everything. Some tales in the end seem a little lacking but I believe it was mainly because of the mountain high expectation I had from them due to the sky-high bars set from the tales leading up to them. Nonetheless the journey was immensely fun and intriguing. Each time I was hooked to the tale at hand and at the same time was also wondering about the magic the next tale may bring on the table. Crazy? Indeed it is.I am thinking about adding a book shelve here for the books "which make me feel glad that I spend half of my months spending on books" and this is sure to be on the top of it. I can't add it because the name is too big. :(PG.

Adam K.

I've waited too long after reading this one to remember many specifics, so my rating and my review have more to do with an overall impression. I really enjoyed parts of this collection as well as valued the stories for their literary heritage. However, as I was reading this to my boys to put them to sleep at night, I began having a very hard time with the several stories Andersen wrote in which children died cruelly, either to teach them a lesson or because it was, simply, the way of things. It's not exactly Grimm's, but it is off-putting, especially for me, a father who is trying to teach my sons of their worth and potential. I'm also trying to build their trust both in God and me not to let bad things happen to them, nor do I want them to believe they could ever commit an offense so bad that it earns them the worst possible consequence of karma and fate. I'm not sure why storytellers used to write this way, but I can only assume it's because people once had a very fatalistic view of life. The fact that we are sometimes still attracted to this kind of storytelling and even celebrate it means we still have much growing to do. I prefer gentler children's stories, especially when I'm reading them to sleep. I prefer good things to happen to children in stories. Otherwise, I feel like I'm giving them a bad model. Children need to feel safe and secure. There is PLENTY of time to learn about the darkness in the world when they get older. Those looking for an alternative, a story with many happy returns, might I suggest my own "A Night with St. Nick"?

Mohamed Osman

ذكريات الطفولة الجميلة ، عالم هانز أندرسون الساحر ، الطبعة القديمة المهترئة ذات الأوراق الصفراء والتي أقلب كل صفحة بمفردها علي حدي ، مازالت احتفظ بهذه النسخة في ظرف بني كبير ولا اريد تجمعيها أو تجليدها لذكريات هذه النسخة بحالتها تلك معي :)

Nhung Nguyen

A part of my childhood....


I devoured this as a child. My mother bought a very old second hand copy. It was printed by WM. Collins, Sons & Co. LTD. Glasgow. Illustrated by Anne Anderson. No publishing date is visible.It's a beautiful object - so old the pages are like thin floppy cardboard. The illustrations are exquisite and I delighted in hand-painting them with watercolour, thus ruining any resale value, I should think.However, the stories are wonderful, and greatly influenced the development of my psyche.

John Lucy

If you don't know Andersen, you don't know much. He's the author of so many of our favorite fairy tales and stories that for that reason alone you should read him. Of course, he himself says that he doesn't understand why most people only read his earlier work and think that his later work is inferior: Princess and the Pea, Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, etc., were all written fairly early in his career. But as you read his tales you should see that his later work is just as brilliant. Indeed, his later work, from a literary standpoint, is perhaps better; certainly more mature, less fantastical in general, and in general less "happy," but brilliant and quite entertaining all the same.Remember that all Andersen's stories are written for children. That doesn't mean that adults cannot find the stories entertaining or meaningful, simply that they were written for children. I emphasize this fact because nowadays many of these stories would be hidden away from kids so that they wouldn't be upset by the hard nature of life. But, in a way, that's Andersen's point: let's use our imagination and see in the world what is not readily apparent, but life is often harsh nonetheless; indeed, our imagination, generosity, and broad perspective may be our only recourse to sanity when we grow up. These stories are fun and full of good, solid lessons for kids, and for all of us.I do not recommend doing what I did, just reading through the collection and sometimes reading multiple stories in one day. Read one tale a day for a year and then go back and read your favorites one a day, and you'll end your year in higher spirits and with a better outlook on life.

Erika Free

I am not sure if this is the one i have, but mine was similar to this. It had many of the stories in it, around 35 i think. Most of the stories i really liked, they had a great moral. I like the way that he writes, its very witty and fun. Some of the stories where a little gory-er then i would like, but they still where great stories. Some of the stories would basically state the moral in the story, for example, "The ugly duckling". But the others You have to think about it for awhile, until you can take you best guess at what he meant. I do not have a particular favorite, but I think i enjoyed "The Girl who Trod on The Loaf" and "The Little Mermaid" the most.


DANISH MASTER STORYTELLER TOUCHES THE HEARTNB: Exact Title: THE LITTLE MERMAID AND OTHER FAIRY TALES.Over the decades I have enjoyed many HCA fairy tales--considering them a gift to childlike hearts the world over. Many excellent illustrators have chosen individual stories to depict, thus capturing the imagination of readers of all ages. Still, I admit to beingdisappointed by this Harper anthology which is not all inclusive. The tales vary in length from rather long to absurdly short--not that length alone proves a valid yardstick for enjoyment.Despite the author's occasional subtle humor he intrudes too much of himself into many of these tales--as if readers were really interested in hearing about the actual storyteller ina ddition to his interesting characters. One wonders if HCA was trying to curry favor and/or royal patronage. Before reading these storres aloud to youngsters: be warned that some tales are brutal or grisly, while others seem legitimate pleas for social reform. His favorite themes for general moralizing portray the dangers of excessive greed, violence and vanity. Was HCA trying to instruct or merely entertain his young readers despite his heavy literary agenda? (December 25, 2010. I welcome dialogue with teachers.)


Today, Hans Christian Andersen would be given drugs and therapy, and then more drugs. He would be put into a study about repressed homosexuals and boys with a mamma fixation. All this because of his stories. Andersen’s stories are also not very happy when you truly think about them. For every happy story, like “The Ugly Duckling”, there are at least two sad stories. Yet Andersen, at least in American circles, is considered a children’s author. Whether this is due to those editions or retellings of Andersen’s stories that make the ending happy, I don’t know. I do know that I have read Andersen more times than I have read the Brothers Grimm and that Andersen speaks to more people than the Grimm brothers ever will. The Grimms were interested in collecting folktales and folklore. Andersen is interested in telling stories. Outside of Demark and other northern countries, he is known for his stories, in particular for his fairy stories. This is misleading for Andersen also wrote plays and poems as well as travelogues and autobiographies. His first success wasn’t with his fairy stories. His poem about a mother mourning her dead children is touching (and a theme that enters into one of his tales). Even just considering his stories, people are misled. Everyone thinks they know “The Little Mermaid,” “The Ugly Duckling”, or “The Little Match Girl”, fewer people know the stories how they actually are and even fewer know more of Andersen’s work, such as “The Shadow” or ‘”The Storks”. This does Andersen a huge injustice. Andersen was heavily influenced by several things in his writing. It is common knowledge that he was influenced by folklore and the stories told to him by his grandmother, but he was also influenced by the German writers that predated him or who were his contemporaries. While it is not apparent in his better known tales, he had a strong love of country (even though he always seemed to be traveling away from it) as well as a good dose of patriotism. He was also religious, though this seems to come though in his tale more than anything else. Several critics have pointed out that Andersen has a cult of suffering. His leads his heroes and heroines always suffer. The Ugly Duckling gets frozen in water, the Little Mermaid feels as if she is walking on knives (or broken glass); the Marsh King’s Daughter is transformed into a frog, the little Match Girl freezes to death, the money pig breaks, the storks deliver dead babies. Andersen’s characters seem to suffer far more than those people in the Grimm’s tales (though that isn’t a cake walk either). Andersen, however, is still a considered a children’s author because of the tone, his use of sound (read his tales aloud if you don’t believe me), of putting himself in a child’s shoes (who doesn’t imagine the flowers coming to life). Too often people look at Andersen in the simplest terms. Take “The Little Mermaid” for example. Many today know the story not as Andersen’s but as Disney’s. They think that the mermaid marries her prince and everyone lives happily ever after. While the cursory reader of Andersen knows that this is not the ending, a deeper reading reveals, if not a happy ending, perhaps a slightly hopeful one as well as a few details about the prince. In the mermaid’s story, Andersen presents a people where the women seem to help each (the witch, the mermaid’s sisters, the mermaid herself) and where the only male who does anything is the prince himself. The mermaid and her sisters are desexualized (she loses her voice, they their hair). The prince treats the mermaid like his pet dog. The mermaid, however, wants a soul more than a prince. She acts more as if she has a soul more than prince. By taking “The Little Mermaid” and reducing the plot to a love story, the adaptor or reader does Andersen a disservice and dismisses the larger issue. In the story, it is the non-humans, the merfolk, who appear to have those virtues that humanity claims – compassion. The mermaid might eventually get her soul though she doesn’t get her prince. Today, there is a movement to de-religion stores (look at Narnia in both the movies and the exhibit), but to do so to Andersen guts this story. Or take “The Marsh King’s Daughter”, one of Andersen’s lesser known popular tales. Fairy Tales always treat rape as a non issue or blame the victim. Sleeping Beauty, for example, in some versions is woken by the birth of twins, yet never seems to feel any emotional upheaval. Andersen is one of the few fairy tale writers to deal with the issue of rape and not fully gloss over it. Like the Grimms, who buried the incest theme of some tales, Andersen glosses over the attack that starts “The Marsh King’s Daughter”. The daughter of the title is the offspring of the Marsh King and the Egyptian princess who he attacks. This daughter is full of rage and pain except at night when she becomes a frog. Part of the story is about the daughter coming to terms with this rage. Where else would the rage come off except for the attack on the mother? Many of Andersen’s tales are concerned with relationships, in particular those of mothers and children. Many critics have discovered or argued for the presence of Andersen’s own relationship with his mother in these tales. Andersen’s mother, who gave birth to a bastard daughter before marrying Andersen’s father, comes off looking less like a saint and more like a drunk if this is true. But then, there is a tale like “She Was a Good for Nothing” where the mother is a drunk who dearly loves and cares for her son. In this story, Andersen contrasts public view versus private life, of how the upper class views the lower class. Andersen is often concerned with class in his tales. The upper classes tend to be dismissive of the lower classes, though it is the lower classes that exhibit more of those human virtues. Sometimes, like in “The Tinderbox”, Andersen even seems to attack the royalty, seemingly suggesting that the old order must give to the new. Even in his class stories, Andersen also shows a great love and knowledge of his country. Some of his stories are about the humble beginnings of Great Danes (no, not the dogs) like Thorvaldsen, whose work Andersen seemed to love if Andersen’s stories are anything to go by. It should also be noted that in some of stories, especially in stories where different classes of children met, Andersen suggests more of equality than out and out class warfare. Andersen’s stories aren’t all for children; in fact, as he wrote more stories, Andersen saw himself as writing more for adults and this would example the class conscious stories, but also the longer stories like “The Ice Maiden” or “Ib and Little Christine”. It is in the longer stories that one can see the German romantic influence on Andersen. While the tales are more adult, they also consider several of the same themes that inhabit his more child friendly stories. While “Ib and Little Christine” can be rather annoying if you are female reader, it is impossible to describe the creeping feeling of unease that stories such as “The Ice Maiden” and “The Shadow” inspire. Andersen borrowed from more than his grandmother and the Germans. His “The Rose Elf” presents a revenge minded “Pot of Basil”, a twist on a familiar tale presented by Boccaccio but also used by Keats among others. Andersen’s variation of the “Seven Swans” makes far more sense than other versions, even if it is chaster than those other versions. Andersen’s most famous story might be “The Ugly Duckling”, a story that many critics, rightly it seems, consider to be Andersen’s most autobiographical work. This isn’t to say that the similar theme of belonging, of fitting in, doesn’t appear in other works. There are shades of “Duckling” in “Thumbelina” as well as some of the class conscious Andersen short stories. “The Ugly Duckling” is more memorable because the plot of the story could happen. The plot of “Thumbelina”, not so much. We believe in the duckling becoming the swan because of the way Andersen sets up the story – a mistake could happen. Today, even with all our supposed advancements, you still have hospital mix ups. In most of Andersen’s stories, the reader can meet actual places and people that Andersen knew or admired. Edvard Collin, Andersen’s man crush, appears, as does Jenny Lind. Even smaller characters in Andersen’s history, less well known to the average reader, seem to appear. Andersen’s teachers, the women Andersen felt rejected him (or whom Andersen allowed himself to be rejected by); all seem to appear. Copenhagen is a time honored companion in the stories, but so is Andersen’s love of Italy. This sense of place gives another level of reality to the tales, a level that seems to be missing from the works of the Grimms or Perrault. While many of Andersen’s tales have “morals” or lessons, they are not spelled out as in the work of Aesop or Fontatine. Andersen respects his reader, be that reader a child or an adult, and knows that his reader can follow his lesson without the moral being directly spelled out. Perhaps it is this reason that examines Andersen’s staying power even among, or especially among, female readers.Andersen’s female characters do seem to get punished at far steeper rate than his male characters. While it is true that the Ugly Duckling freezes, his end is far different than those ends of the girls in “The Little Match Girl”, “The Red Shoes” or “The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf”. To say that Andersen was sexist would be a mistake. Even in stories where the girl is horribly punished there are good women – the grandmother, the girl who prays for Karen. More importantly, one of Andersen’s most famous stories, “The Snow Queen” presents two strong willed girls, one of whom keeps her independence; another of women is helped by more women than man when she quests to save her childhood fan who also is perhaps her adult love or husband.The statue of the Little Mermaid, which just recently had its birthday, in many ways, is a fitting and unfitting memorial to Andersen. Like Andersen himself, the statue has survived various attempts to deface it. Andersen faults against those who mocked him, who tried to educate the imagination out of him, or who ignored him because of his class. He survived the fact that he would not be able to fulfill his first dream, to be a dancer. The statue of the mermaid has overcome beheadings, defacing, and veils to still exist as a tourist attraction. But like the works of Andersen’s own works, few people who see the statue know true story of the character the statue is based on, few know the story of the statue itself or of the Kasslett located nearby. Fewer know that it is not the only statue in Copenhagen depicting a merperson that has connection to Andersen (he wrote a story based on the Forsake Merman). Perhaps it is this sense of mystery that keeps Andersen’s popularity. We are introduced to him at two points in our lives. The first time when we are children. The second time when we are older, perhaps after seeing the statue or reading a story to a child. We can have two different readings of Andersen, the man and his work.


This is a rather charming volume that takes a little effort to wade through if tales of the lives of trees, thimbles, candles, and obscure (to Westerners) European and Scandinavian history aren't your usual fare. Ask anyone on the street what their favourite Andersen story is, and they will likely reply, "Disney's 'Little Mermaid' was fun and had sweet music." Some may mention the Emperor's New Clothes, or The Ugly Duckling. After reading his complete works, my conclusion is that Andersen's famous stories aren't necessarily his best. Over the nearly thousand pages, there are the stories of inanimate objects and tales of Tycho Brahe's exploits that I alluded to earlier, beast fables, fairy tales, and heart-wrenching stories of unrequited love. His fairy tales (stories with elves, goblins, and princesses), are excellent, but sadly far too few, filling probably less than a quarter of the total works. I'm not sure how many people are aware of just how many stories Andersen wrote that are tragic in every sense of the word. There is probably a reason these stories aren't as well-known in today's age where the beauty of childhood is extolled; I think a lot of people have missed the reality that childhood is no longer idyllic and many children live very tragic lives. For this reason, I believe these tragic pieces should be read, that they may touch a new generation. Honestly speaking, reading them broke my heart and made me weep.I am giving this book four stars because there were too many stories that were, in a word, superfluous. For those looking for literature suitable for children, or those who are desiring fanciful stories with a strong religious slant, I would recommend this book-- Highly. For the casual reader, you are probably better off with a book of selected tales.


** spoiler alert ** Ok. I am pretty sure this is not the one I read, but the one I have is pretty old and probably not on here. I asked for a book of original fairy tales for Christmas one year and got this and could not have been happier. In it, there are a ton of unedited-for-Disney stories that range from pretty basic to totally bizarre. A favorite short one is "The Jumping Contest" in which a flea, a "jumping jack", and some other thing all have a contest to see who can jump highest. Whoever does gets to marry the princess. The jumping jack wins through some kind of cunning and even though I have no idea what he is, he gets to marry the princess. Huzzah! There are also some incredibly gory ones, including "The Rose Elf" in which an elf exacts revenge on a bad guy and includes a moderately graphic decapitation.

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