Hans Christian Andersen (1805–75) was born in Odense, Denmark. The son of a poor shoemaker, who nonetheless was a great reader, made a toy theater for his son and taught him to notice every natural wonder as they walked in the woods together on Sundays. His father died when he was 11, and it wasn’t until six years later that, with the help of a patron, he finally went to a state secondary school attended by much younger children. There he suffered at the hands of a cruel headmaster, but he acquired an education and was determined to be a writer. He published his first novel and his first fairy tales in 1835; thereafter he wrote over 150 more of these stories which have become classics in many languages.Although he originally addressed his fairy tales to children (and some would maintain he had a streak of childhood in his nature) he insisted they were “for all ages,” and the gentleness and humor that are their characteristics are recognized by everyone.
One day, a diabolical troll made a mirror that showed everything beautiful as ugly and all that was good as evil. Delighted, the trolls decided to carry their mirror to heaven and mock the angels, but on the way the mirror shattered and pieces of the mirr...[SEE MORE]