Born to an extremely poor family, in Odense, Denmark in 1805, he settled in Copenhagen on 1819. Fortunate in finding a wealthy patron he was able to receive a decent education and begin a career as a writer, starting with a range of poetry, drama and novels. But it was not until 1835, when he published 'Fairy Tales Told for Children' ('Eventyr, Fortalte for Born') that he started to grow in fame.
The original volume contained only five fairy tales, but it was expanded for Christmas editions, year by year. Eventually it grew to contain 156 tales, allegories, fables, anecdotes, and philosophical comments.
In 1843 he began to write fairy tales for adults, and changed the title of the volume to 'New Fairy Tales'.
In addition to the fairy stories that made him famous, he wrote thirty plays, six novels, three autobiographies and a number of volumes of verse.
Though many of his stories have an overtly moralistic or religious tone that now seem rather heavy handed, his influence on the development of fairy tales cannot be ignored.
Hans Christian Andersen has become more than a literary figure, and has turned into something of an industry. His house has become a popular museum, his stories have been translated into dozens of languages, and mauled by Disney and spawned merchandise of every variety. The small bronze statue of The Little Mermaid, on a rock in the harbour of Copenhagen, has become the most recognisable symbol of the city.
The full text of the following stories is noded:
The Marsh King's Daughter
The Emperor's New Clothes
The Princess and the Pea
The Snow Queen
The Ugly Duckling
The Little Mermaid
The Brave Tin Soldier
The Wild Swans
The Wicked Prince
The Metal Pig
The Little Match Girl
The Swan's Nest