I’m getting very used to quirky when it comes to Hans Christian Andersen. This week’s tale is about an old house in a block full of new houses. It’s a sweet little story. An old man lives in the old house. One day, he invites a boy over to visit him. The boy gives him one of his tin soldiers for some reason. He asks the man if he is lonely, living by himself, but the man explains that he has his memories to keep him company. Later, when the main dies, the house is torn down. When the boy grows up and marries, he moves into the new house that’s built there now. To his surprise, he finds the same tin soldier he gave to the old man. He reminisces about the old man and explains to his wife that the old man was never lonely due to his memories!
Next Fairy Tale- The Farm-Yard Cock and The Weather-Cock
This week’s fairy tale is something I’m very familiar with as I’m a teacher. Children’s prattle! Oh, how familiar I am with that. We all know that children can talk for so long about things that are not really important…The story centres around some children at a party, who are bragging about their fathers. Their fathers are all so wonderfully rich and have good jobs. A poor boy who is helping in the kitchen, really wishes he was like the other kids.
However, all’s well that ends well, because as the boy grows up he becomes a fantastic well-known artist. The other kids grow up to be decent human beings. All of the bragging at the party was really only ‘children’s prattle.’
Next Fairy Tale-The Old House
This week’s fairy tale had quite a sad edge to it! It centres around a broken bottle-neck that ends up serving as a bird bath. The bottle remembers its life. It was first opened to celebrate the engagement of a young couple, so its life was initially happy. It was then refilled with a herbal drink and accompanied the young man of the couple to sea. However, the ship sadly sank whilst at sea and the bottle ended up in a foreign land. Eventually, the bottle makes it home, which is where it exists in the home of an old maid who had once been engaged to the sailor who died at sea. How sad! 😦
Next Fairy Tale- Children’s Prattle
The Shadow is a quirky tale which I’m certainly coming to expect from Hans Christian Andersen. It centres around a learned man who visits the Mediterranean and is instantly intrigued by a balcony over the road from where he is renting. The man sends his shadow over to check it out. (How cool would that be?) His shadow never comes back, but the learned man is able to grow another shadow so he doesn’t stand out compared to others.
The learned man goes back home and years later finds himself visited by his shadow. His shadow went into the house of poetry, he learnt a lot and impressed others with his knowledge. The shadow was then showered with gifts turning him rich and very famous. The shadow didn’t want the man to tell anyone that it wasn’t a real person.
The shadow visits again a while later and the man is sick. The shadow is still doing well for itself. The shadow offers the philosopher the chance to go to a spa with him. However, he’s told everyone that the man is actually the shadow! The shadow meets and falls in love with a princess. As in every fairy tale, things move quickly and they agree to marry. They kill the man as they believe he’s delusional for thinking he’s a real human! (Nasty shadow…)
Next Fairy Tale- The Bottle-Neck
This little fairy tale was a strange one. I love the quirky fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen. This fairy tale centres around a Portuguese duck who really appreciates herself. She does act a little superior to others. One day, she comes across a songbird who is injured after being chased by a cat. She finds an injured songbird back to health, because that’s a nice thing to do! Everything seems okay for a while, but the Portuguese duck seems to be getting quite irritated by others around her. After a while, the duck gets frustrated with the beautiful songbird. She believes the songbird is insulting her, so she bites its head off. How charming, hey?
The Last Pearl is a quirky little tale involving angels. A newborn’s good angel talks with the house’s guardian spirit about the last pearl. The reason why they need the last pearl is to complete a necklace of blessings for the child. A nice idea, right? Both the good angel and the house’s guardian go on a search for the last pearl. It turns out that the last pearl is a tear that belongs to sorrow.
Next Fairy Tale- In The Duck-Yard
The Travelling Companion centres around a character named Johannes. He’s feeling awful because his dad has just died. Johannes dreams of his father being alive. He dreams that he has introduced him to a beautiful maiden, naming this maiden as his soon to be bride. Johannes takes his inheritance and goes to travel the world. He spends the night in a church and gives some money to a gang who want to throw a dead man’s body into the street due to the man dying before repaying his debts. It’s all pretty dark!
After all of this drama, a stranger asks if he can travel with Johannes. Johannes is a wonderful guy so he agrees. As they travel the stranger picks up some strange things, including a bundle of branches, a sword and a pair of wings from a dead swan. They soon reach a kingdom where the princess is beautiful but demanding. In order to marry the princess, three questions have to be answered correctly. If the questions are answered wrong, then their heads will be chopped off. Johannes recognises the girl from his dream and is determined to get the questions right.
The stranger puts on the swan wings that night which make him invisible. He follows the princess as she flies on black wings to visit a trill. The troll advises the princess to think of a mundane thing like her shoes and ask Johannes what it is she’s thinking of. The stranger sends that message back to Johannes and Johannes answers correctly. There’s another visit to the troll and because of the stranger, Johannes gets the question right. On the third night, the troll flies back to the palace and think of the troll’s head. When the troll leaves, the stranger beheads the troll, wraps it up and gives it to Johannes to give to the princess.
Johannes gets to marry the princess although the stranger tells him that she’s still evil. On their wedding night, Johannes is advised to dunk her underwater to disenchant her. This breaks the spell! The stranger tells Johannes that he must leave now, he drops the bombshell that he is the spirit of the dead man whose corpse Johannes had protected. Yay for Johannes! Johannes and the princess rule the kingdom and this one was a happily ever after!
Next Fairy Tale- The Last Pearl