Thank You for Hans Christian Andersen. We all know what today’s date means, 9/11 is the symbol of our fear and fragility. We all need hope and something beautiful inside to keep our own life, and life around. Hans Christian Andersen is our lifesaver.
I invite you in Denmark, in Odense where Andersen born, and the museum, where I took the photos. It is a great pleasure to share with you a fairy tale by my eyes with the soul-wrapping-warming-hugging vibrations of the great man. We are in absolute safety here and now.
In autobiographical “The Fairy Tale of My Life” H.C. Andersen writes, “My life is lovely story, happy and full of incident. If, when I was a boy, and went forth into the world poor and friendless, a good fairy had met me and said, “Choose now thy own course through life, and the object for which thou wilt strive, and then according to the development of thy mind and reason requires, I will guide and defend thee to its attainment,” my fate could not, even then, have been directed more happily, more prudently, or better.”
“My native land, Denmark, is a poetical land, full of popular traditions, old songs and eventful history.
The Danish islands are possessed of beautiful beech woods, and corn and clover fields. Upon one of these green islands, Funen, stands Odense, the place of my birth.
Odense is called after the pagan god Odin, who, as tradition states, lived here.”
Hans Christian Andersen was about 1.85 metres tall – 25 cm above the national average. The longlimbed tall man, the characteristic head with its deep-set eyes and the large nose did not come within the ideal for beauty that prevailed at the time.
He was thought to be ugly, odd – yes, even repulsive – and his outward appearance attracted attention and made a clumsy, comical impression on most people. Those, however, was only the initial impression. Those who got to know the writer more closely gained a different impression. They found his face full of life and wit, his figure stately and his bearing elegant.
Hans Christian Andersen was very fond of looking at himself in the mirror. This was not out of an inordinate love of finery, although he was very concerned about how he dressed. There are about 160 photographs of the writer, but not many of them resembled the actual man, was the opinion of his friends.
The reason was that Hans Christian Andersen tried to assume “a brilliant expression” when he posed for the photographer. I understand his “brilliant expression”, the son of a cobbler and washerwoman wrote, “I arrived with my small parcel in Copenhagen, a poor stranger of a boy, and today I have drunk my chocolate with the Queen, sitting opposite her and the King at the table.”
Throughout his life, Hans Christian Andersen had a colossal imagination, something which the writer thought of as both a great gift and a curse. The most trifling criticism or reproof could disturb his spirits and hurt him deeply. Insignificant incidents were capable of stimulating his imagination to such an extent that he was afraid of becoming insane, like his grandfather before him.
“I am like water, everything brings me in motion. Everything is mirrored in me. This must be part of my nature as a creative writer and often I have derived pleasure and blessing from it, although often it has also been a torment,” the writer wrote to his friend.
“Ideas lay in my thoughts like a seed corn, requiring only flowing steam, a ray of sunshine, a drop from the cup of bitterness, for them to spring forth and burst into bloom.”
“I have heaps material, more than for any kind of writing; it often seems to me as if every hoarding, every little flower is saying to me, “Look at me, just for a moment, and then my story will go right into you”, and then, if I feel like it, I have the story,” he said.
Touching the genius of Hans Christian Andersen makes me happy. I remember my mother’s warm and calm voice reading “The Princess and the pea”, “They could see she was a real Princess and no question about it, now that she had felt one pea all the way through twenty mattresses and twenty more feather beds. Nobody but a Princess could be so delicate.” I read Hans Christian Andersen’s stories for my daughter and I do hope my grandchildren will love its. A family blanket from our childhood is keeping happy memories about familiar and close voices, hands, and smells of milk with honey and a book of fairytales. This blanket is our shield and life vest I am trying to enwrap you in warming your soul.
I am happy to suggest a film about the writer. Beautiful film is instead the devastating and depression world news for keeping souls and minds safe and beautiful.
“The history of my life will say to the world what is says to me – There is a loving God, who directs all things for the best” Hans Christian Andersen said. “God directs all things for the best,” I am repeating for myself and for you. We are in safety until a fairy tale lives in us.
Thank You, Hans Christian Andersen! You are our lifesaver.
One thought on “H.C. Andersen, the Lifesaver”
His stories are beautiful and full of love and life. Your images are wonderful. The village seems so quiet, so quaint. So far away from the noise and violence and confusion of bigger cities. I wouldn’t mind finding an apartment there and wasting away my days writing. Look what it did for Hans.