Great Books of the World – Part 28

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.”

Hans Christian Andersen

Courtesy of Kis Kis:


“To be of use to the world is the only way to be happy.”

Hans Christian Andersen


Hans  Christian  Andersen
2 April 1805 – 4 August 1875

Courtesy of NLB Singapore:


Hans Christian Andersen wrote some of the most treasured stories of the past two centuries, but his life was more like a Dickens novel than a fairy tale. Born poor in Denmark, the son of a cobbler and a washerwoman, he was an awkward, dreamy youth who imagined a theatrical career for himself and left home for Copenhagen when he was fourteen. He suffered a period of privation before being rescued by patrons who sponsored his education and allowed him to immerse himself in two transformative activities: travel and writing.

The writing brought him acclaim, first as a novelist and later, resoundingly and lastingly, as an author of tales for children, the first volume of which he published in 1835. Despite his success as a writer, Andersen remained something of a social misfit with a gift for alienating even his friends (even Dickens himself with whom he overstayed his welcome on an 1857 visit to England.) No doubt, Andersen’s loneliness inspired the affection for outcasts and sorry souls that distinguishes many of his most beloved tales, such as “The Ugly Duckling”, “The Little Match Girl” and “The Steadfast Tin Soldier.”

Courtesy of FutureLearn:

“The Ugly Duckling”


“Fairytale” by Enya (courtesy of Best Relaxing Music & Nature):


An extract from “The Princess and the Pea:”

“Once upon a time there was a prince and he wanted to marry a princess, only she had to be a real princess. So he went all over the world looking for one. But every time there was something the matter: princesses there were in plenty, but whether they were real princesses or not, he could never really make out, there was always something not quite real about them. So he came home again and was very sad because he did so want a real princess.

Now, one night there was a terrible storm. It thundered and lightened and rain poured down  – it was frightful!  All at once, there was a knock at the city gate, and the old king went out to open it. There, standing outside, was a princess. But dear me, what a sight she looked, in the wind and rain. The water was running down her hair and her clothes, and it was running in at the toes of her shoes and out again at the heels. And then she said she was a real princess.”

“For the Love of a Princess” by James Horner, performed by Hauser:


“The Little Mermaid”

“Watermark” by Enya, performed by the Taliesin Orchestra (courtesy of Mara379):


An extract from “The Little Mermaid”:

“I will make you a drink, and before the sun rises you must swim ashore with it and sit on the shore and drink it. Your tail will then split in two and shrivel into what human beings call nice little legs. But it’ll hurt: like having a sharp sword go through you. All who see you will say you are the loveliest little human being they have ever seen! You’ll keep your graceful movements, and no dancer will be as graceful. But every step you take will be like treading on a sharp knife that draws blood. If you are ready to suffer all this, I am willing to help you.”

‘Yes! said the little mermaid in a trembling voice, thinking of the prince and of winning an immortal soul.

‘But remember this,’ said the which: ‘when once you have gained the human form, you can never more become a mermaid!  You will never be able to come down into the sea to and your father’s palace: and unless you win the prince’s love, so that for your sake he forgets his father and mother, and clings to your with all his heart and allows the clergymen to place your hands together so that you become husband and wife, you will never win an immortal soul! The morning after he marries another, your heart will break and you will become foam on the water.’

‘I am willing!’ said the little mermaid, turning as pale as death.’


“The sun now rose from the sea, its beams falling gently and warmly on the deadly cold foam. The little mermaid had no feeling of death, but saw the bright sun and, soaring above her, hundreds of lovely transparent creatures; through them she could see the ship’s white sails and the red clouds in the sky; their voice was music, but so spiritual that no human ear could hear it, just as no earthly eye could see them. They glided through the air without wings by their own lightness. The little mermaid saw that she had a body like theirs, which rose higher and higher out of the foam.

‘To whom am I coming?’ she said, and her voice sounded like that of the other beings, so spiritual that no earthly music can reproduce it. 

‘To the daughters of the air!’ they replied.

‘A mermaid never has an immortal soul, and can never get one unless she wins the love of a human being! Her everlasting life depends on a strange power. The daughters of the air have no everlasting soul either, but by good deeds, they can create one for themselves. We fly to the hot countries, where the warm, plague-filled air kills human beings, and there we waft cool breezes. We spread through the air the scents of flowers, bringing refreshment and healing. When for three hundred years we have striven to do all the good we can, we get an immortal soul and share in the eternal happiness of human beings.”           

“Violin Concerto”, 2nd movement, by Philip Glass, performed by Mari Samuelsen and Konzerthausorchester Berlin:


63 thoughts on “Great Books of the World – Part 28

  1. Thank you, Ray, for appreciating the music.



  2. This was so interesting article. He was so immortal. Anita


  3. Hi Joanna! As I am going through bad time and I am too much stressed could not find time to go through your posts. This is really a beautiful post Joanna. Writing for kids needs more imaginations than we think. Thanks for writing about Sir Hans Christian Andersen. Anyone who dreams differently is thought to be odd in society but they are the persons who can become successful.

    You have beautifully created the article. I loved it.

    I missed your birthday.. I think it was on 13th February. I’m a very bad timekeeper. It’s better late than never so I wish you belated happy birthday. Keep writing, keep growing….


  4. Thank you, Iswar, for your kind comments, but I am sorry to hear that you have stressful time. I thought that you were recovered and well in every way. Is it you health or college, if I may ask?

    Thank you for my birthday wishes, it was on the 12of February. Don’t worry about my date as long as you remember the dates of your loved ones.

    I am glad that you could read this pot, although today’s might be of interest as it is connected with


    Thank you again, Iswar. Greatly appreciated.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am healthy but it’s my workplace and also my home for which I m worried


  6. Thank you, Iswar, for your prompt reply. Health is the most important issue, the rest you can sort out in good time.



  7. From the video: “…he was never able to find inner rest in outer reality.” Perhaps this very trait forms the artist, poet, musician, and writer. As always, I enjoyed your musical selections tremendously! Many thanks, Joanna. ❤️🌺🙏


  8. Thank you, Sunny, for your kind comments! Greatly appreciated!


    PS. I will be late to listening to your piano video because Felicity, the cat doesn’t like any music while she sleeps.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My best regards to Felicity – I NEVER argue with a cat! 😎🌺


  10. My toughs exactly!


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Joanna, What a lovely post! I enjoyed Andersen’s fairytales growing up and read some of them many times. I liked “The Ugly Duckling” because it gave me hope that I could grow up and make my dreams come true. “The Princess and the Pea” always made me laugh! I enjoyed “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” I grew up where nudity and untruthfulness were both taboo, so I think the story seemed slightly naughty to me. 🙂

    One thing that surprised me was that Andersen never felt himself to be a success. I know that creative people tend to be perfectionists, but I felt a little sad for him, a person who has given so much joy to the world.

    I hope things are going well for you, and that all the aggravation is soon behind you! ❤


  12. Thank you, Cheryl, for the wonderful comments! You did make your dreams realized and you have fulfilled and happy life.

    I think it is one of the ingredients of being a genius not to presume that you will be revered forever. Would

    the greats of the ancient time thought that they will be immortal.

    My problems are still going on but I will be back as soon as I can!


    Liked by 1 person

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