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Friday, December 14, 2012 12:52:27 PM (IST)  

First Andersen Fairytale Discovered in Denmark

Copenhagen, Dec 14 (IANS): The very first Hans Christain Andersen fairytale has been discovered by a historian in the late author's native island of Funen in central Denmark, a media report said.

The fairytale, The Tallow Candle, was discovered in October at the bottom of a box in The National Archive of Funen in the city of Odense. It has since been examined by leading Danish experts who have now confirmed the authenticity of the script, Xinhua reported.

"This is a sensational discovery. Partly because it must be seen as Andersen's first fairy tale, and partly because it shows that he was interested in the fairy tale as a young man, before his authorship began," Ejnar Stig Askgaard, a leading Andersen expert from the Odense City Museums, told Danish daily Politiken.

The Tallow Candle tells the story of a candle that has difficulty finding its place in the world until a tinder box discovers its worth and lights its wick. However, this fairytale, which is written neatly by pen, is not Andersen's original manuscript but a copy.

In particular, the 190-year old script highlights the important relation that the young Andersen shared with a woman, Madam Bunkeflod, who lived just across the street from his childhood home.

It is known that Andersen visited this woman, read out loud to her and borrowed books from her as a child. Andersen even dedicated The Tallow Candle to Madam Bunkeflod on the front page.

If it were one day to be sold at auction, The Tallow Candle would be worth several hundred thousands of Danish kroner, experts have estimated. In late November, a collection of early Andersen work was sold for 620,000 Danish kroner to a private foreign collector.

Andersen made his debut as a writer in 1829 and became recognized in his lifetime as an important author in the literature of the 19th century.

His fairytales were largely published from the middle of the 1830's.

Some of his most famous fairytales include The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling.

Andersen's fairytales have been translated into approximately 125 languages.

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