Once upon a time, the world-famous fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was born on this day in Odense, Denmark, the son of a poor shoemaker.
He worked in a tobacco farm at age 11 and left home at 14 to seek fame and fortune in Copenhagen.
"Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale," he said.
A prolific writer, his first publication, Youthful Attempts (1822) was followed by about 175 tales, many of the world's beloved tales, including The Little Mermaid (1836), The Ugly Duckling (1844), and The Princess and the Pea. He wrote 14 novels and short stories, about 50 dramatic works, and 800 poems.
"My name is gradually beginning to shine, and that is the only thing for which I live," he said of his growing fame. "I covet honor and glory in the same way as the miser covets gold."
He wrote tales for children that taught lessons to adults. An observer of humanity and society, Andersen's writing style was innovative and conversational. With storytelling genius, he used creativity and folk legends to weave his popular tales which celebrated the underdog and expressed sympathy for the poor.
Planning the music for his funeral, he said, "Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with short steps."
Live each day, happily ever after!