A DANISH historian says he has discovered what he believes is a previously unknown fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen.
Retired historian Esben Brage said yesterday he found the six-page text in early October while searching in the National Archives through boxes that had belonged to wealthy families from Andersen’s home-town of Odense in central Denmark.
“I was ecstatic. I immediately contacted the curator to tell him about my discovery. I had never imagined this,” Mr Brage said.
The handwritten tale, entitled Tallow Candle, and dedicated to a vicar’s widow named Bunkeflod who had lived across from Andersen’s home, had been left seemingly untouched at the bottom of one of the boxes.
The short story tells the tale of how a tallow candle seeks help from a tinder box to be able to ignite itself.
A senior curator at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, in Odense, said the work is probably one of the author’s earliest, written seven years before his official debut in 1830.
“I often get calls about stuff thought to have been from Andersen’s hand. Most of the time, it is not. This time I was thrilled,” Ejnar Stig Askgaard said. “This is a very early attempt at prose by Andersen, who was then 18.”
Askgaard said Andersen knew the Bunkeflod widow well and regularly visited her, even after he moved to Copenhagen to attend university.