Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors.
Discovered in a suitcase 137 years after Hans Christian Andersen’s death, this story (“Tællelyset” in Danish) revolves around a candle’s existential angst alleviated by a flame-bearing tinderbox, luminescence being the candle’s earthly purpose. Dating back to the 1820s, some experts claim this work as Andersen’s initial foray into fairy tales, while others have contested the composition’s originality based on prevailing Latinate standards of the day.
Naval officer turned artist Thomas Vilhelm Pedersen provided the first illustrations to accompany Andersen’s work. Born in the hamlet of Køge, Pedersen’s visual interpretations of such stories as Thumbelina, The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Tin Soldier have secured his appreciation among readers and scholars alike. A total of 125 drawings by Pedersen appear in H.C. Andersen’s Eventyr, a collection of five booklets published between August and December of 1849.
Danish fairy-tale illustrator Kay Rasmus Nielsen rose to prominence first in print mediums, then at Disney. Though his work with The Illustrated London News focused on the literary staples of Charles Perrault, it’s his Fantasia sequences depicting Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and Schubert’s “Ave Maria” for which he is most known. Nielsen provided the earliest animation concepts for The Little Mermaid, the plan to cinematize Andersen’s story on Disney’s plate since the 1930s.
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by Fairy Tale Review Poetry Editor Jon Riccio.