Fairy Tales Told for Children. First Collection.
|Author||Hans Christian Andersen|
|Original title||Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. Ny Samling.|
|Genre||Literary fairy tale|
|Publisher||C. A. Reitzel|
|8 May 1835 – 7 April 1837|
|Media type||Fairy tale collection|
Fairy Tales Told for Children. First Collection. (Danish: Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. Første Samling.) is a collection of nine fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. The tales were published in a series of three installments by C. A. Reitzel in Copenhagen, Denmark between May 1835 and April 1837, and represent Andersen's first venture into the fairy tale genre.
The first installment of sixty-one unbound pages was published 8 May 1835 and contained "The Tinderbox", "Little Claus and Big Claus", "The Princess and the Pea", and "Little Ida's Flowers". The first three tales were based on folktales Andersen had heard in his childhood while the last tale was completely Andersen's invention and created for Ida Thiele, the daughter of Andersen‘s early benefactor, the folklorist Just Matthias Thiele. Reitzel paid Andersen thirty rixdollars for the manuscript, and the booklet was priced at twenty-four shillings.
The second booklet was published on 16 December 1835 and contained “Thumbelina”, “The Naughty Boy”, and “The Traveling Companion”. “Thumbelina” was completely Andersen’s invention though inspired by “Tom Thumb“ and other stories of miniature people. “The Naughty Boy” was based on a poem by Anacreon about Cupid, and “The Traveling Companion” was a ghost story with which Andersen had experimented in 1830.
The third booklet contained "The Little Mermaid" and "The Emperor’s New Clothes", and was published 7 April 1837. "The Little Mermaid" was completely Andersen’s creation though influenced by de la Motte Fouqué's "Undine" (1811) and lore about mermaids. The tale made him an international star. The only other tale in the third booklet was "The Emperor's New Clothes" which was based on a Medieval Spanish story with Arab and Jewish sources. On the eve of the third installment's publication, Andersen changed the end of his tale (the Emperor simply walks in procession) to its now familiar finale of a child calling out, "The Emperor is not wearing any clothes!"
Danish reviews for the first two booklets appeared in 1836 and were not enthusiastic. Critics disliked the chatty, informal style and an immorality that flew in the face of their expectations that children’s literature was meant to educate rather than amuse. The critics discouraged Andersen from pursuing the genre. Andersen believed he was working against the critics’ preconceived notions about fairy tales, and temporarily returned to novel-writing. The critical reaction was so severe, he waited a full year before publishing the third installment.
The nine tales of the three booklets were collected together and published in one volume and sold at seventy-two shillings. A title page, a table of contents, and a preface by Andersen were published in the volume.
- The Hans Christian Andersen Center: A website devoted to Andersen's life and works maintained by The University of Southern Denmark.