Before he became known as the most famous fairy tale writer ever, Han Christian Andersen surely had to have written a number of poorly developed short stories lacking his legendary finesse, right? You don’t just spin out unforgettable favorites like “The Ugly Ducking” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes” pumped up on beginner’s luck. That’s what retired historian Esben Brage thinks, anyway. In the National Archives of Andersen’s hometown Odense, Denmark, Brage recently discovered what is considered Andersen’s first attempt, “The Tallow Candle,” written when Andersen was just 18.
The story has a great Andersen-esque premise: a candle that has difficulty finding its place in the world until a tinder box discovers its worth and lights its wick. But as one senior curator at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum said, one who verified the six handwritten pages as authentic Andersen: “The text is not at the level of the more mature fairy tales that we know from Andersen’s later writing.” Regardless of quality, and perhaps the intent of the writer (if indeed it is an original), the story will undoubtedly be reprinted for generations to come because it is “real” if not necessarily “good.” Read the entire story here: http://politiken.dk/newsinenglish/ECE1841044/hans-christian-andersens-the-tallow-candle/