Fairy Tale

3 ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Retellings to Read on National Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Here are three 'Beauty and the Beast' retellings readers should pick up on National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. They will make readers wish they lived in a fantasy land, possessed magical abilities, and were destined to break an age-long curse.

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Happy Birthday, Hans Christian Andersen!

Today is the birthday of Hans Cristian Andersen, the famous Danish writer who is best remembered for his fairytales. Happy birthday, Andersen! If Andersen were alive, he would be turning 215 years old! Through the years, he has remained known as a prolific writer of plays, novels, poems, and more. Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark and was an only child. His father considered himself related to nobility, but these speculations have since been questioned. His father was the one who introduced him to literature, but he died during Andersen’s childhood. He was left with his mother, an illiterate washerwoman, and her new husband. Andersen went on to receive a rudimentary education but soon moved into a working apprenticeship to support himself. He moved to Copenhagen where he became an actor until his voice’s pitch lowered, and he was no longer wanted. When a fellow actor told him he considered him a poet, Andersen took it seriously and began to pursue writing.

The Complete Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen - Complete Collection (Illustrated and Annotated) (Literary Classics Collection Book 18) by [Andersen, Hans Christian]
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Soon, Andersen was beginning his journey in writing that would grant him long-lasting success. This success, of course, wasn’t immediate. His first stories were met with some recognition, but it wasn’t until 1833 that he received a grant to travel across Europe. Yet, even then, the quality of his fairytales was not recognized. His first attempts were re-tellings of tales that he had heard as a child. His original works were first released in 1835, but they were met with poor sales. He persisted throughout the next ten years and experienced a breakthrough in 1845 when his work, “The Little Mermaid,” was translated. Andersen’s work after this was eagerly received. He would continue to publish fairytales until his death.

 

Hans Christian Andersen is one of the reasons our literary world is able to be filled with such wonder. Without his persistence throughout his career, many of our childhood tales would evaporate; true magic, more real than that of any fairytale, would have never been able to shine its light on readers for centuries.

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The Little Mermaid

‘The Little Mermaid’ Originally Meant as Gay Love Letter to Author’s Crush

The Little Mermaid is getting the live reboot so many other Disney classics have seen over the years, like Beauty and the BeastAladdin, and The Lion King. This one in particular, however, is causing some controversy with the casting of Halle Bailey, R&B singer, as Ariel. I wonder if everyone so upset with the casting knows the roots of the story. It isn’t just a sweet fairy tale where the princess falls in love with a prince and everyone lives happily ever after. The original tale written in 1837 is much darker and has a deeper connection with Hans Christian Andersen’s life.

Before penning The Little Mermaid, Andersen had fallen in love with a man of much higher class, Edvard Collin. Andersen was attracted to both men and women according to many biography writers, but he was pining for this one man in particular. Collin never returned Andersen’s affections, actually bothered by the special attention that Andersen had paid him and one of his sisters. Collin ended up marrying a woman, and it broke Andersen’s heart. The Little Mermaid became his love letter to Collin.

 

 

Ariel from The Little Mermaid

image via heroic hollywood

In fact, Andersen’s story and that of Ariel are actually quite similar, both tales of unrequited love. Like Andersen, Ariel falls in love with a prince, but she is a mermaid and can’t just walk up to him and tell him. She has no legs! So she sells her voice to a sea witch in exchange for legs and the ability to walk on land to get the prince to fall in love with her. In both Andersen’s original story and Disney’s animated version, the prince does love another woman. In the Disney tale, it is the sea witch, Ursula, who is overcome by Ariel and her animal friends. Ariel gets her prince in the end. In the original tale, the other woman is just another woman. With no voice to express her feelings, something highly symbolic of Andersen’s situation, the prince marries someone else. Ariel, distraught, cries so much she turns into sea foam.

featured image via nerdist