Hans Christian Andersen Quotes

Quotes tagged as "hans-christian-andersen" Showing 1-14 of 14
Hans Christian Andersen
“Every man's life is a fairy tale, written by God's fingers.”
Hans Christian Andersen

Rebecca Solnit
“Fairy tales are about trouble, about getting into and out of it, and trouble seems to be a necessary stage on the route to becoming. All the magic and glass mountains and pearls the size of houses and princesses beautiful as the day and talking birds and part-time serpents are distractions from the core of most of the stories, the struggle to survive against adversaries, to find your place in the world, and to come into your own.

Fairy tales are almost always the stories of the powerless, of youngest sons, abandoned children, orphans, of humans transformed into birds and beasts or otherwise enchanted away from their own lives and selves. Even princesses are chattels to be disowned by fathers, punished by step-mothers, or claimed by princes, though they often assert themselves in between and are rarely as passive as the cartoon versions. Fairy tales are children's stories not in wh they were made for but in their focus on the early stages of life, when others have power over you and you have power over no one.

In them, power is rarely the right tool for survival anyway. Rather the powerless thrive on alliances, often in the form of reciprocated acts of kindness -- from beehives that were not raided, birds that were not killed but set free or fed, old women who were saluted with respect. Kindness sewn among the meek is harvested in crisis...

In Hans Christian Andersen's retelling of the old Nordic tale that begins with a stepmother, "The Wild Swans," the banished sister can only disenchant her eleven brothers -- who are swans all day look but turn human at night -- by gathering stinging nettles barehanded from churchyard graves, making them into flax, spinning them and knitting eleven long-sleeved shirts while remaining silent the whole time. If she speaks, they'll remain birds forever. In her silence, she cannot protest the crimes she accused of and nearly burned as a witch.

Hauled off to a pyre as she knits the last of the shirts, she is rescued by the swans, who fly in at the last moment. As they swoop down, she throws the nettle shirts over them so that they turn into men again, all but the youngest brother, whose shirt is missing a sleeve so that he's left with one arm and one wing, eternally a swan-man. Why shirts made of graveyard nettles by bleeding fingers and silence should disenchant men turned into birds by their step-mother is a question the story doesn't need to answer. It just needs to give us compelling images of exile, loneliness, affection, and metamorphosis -- and of a heroine who nearly dies of being unable to tell her own story.”
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

Hans Christian Andersen
“It was the last night that she would
breathe the same air as he, or look out over the deep sea and up into the star-blue heaven. A dreamless,
eternal night awaited her, for she had no soul and had not been able to win one.”
Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid and Other Tales

Hans Christian Andersen
“He looked at the little maiden, and she looked at him; and he felt that he was melting away, but he still managed to keep himself erect, shouldering his gun bravely.
A door was suddenly opened, the draught caught the little dancer and she fluttered like a sylph, straight into the fire, to the soldier, blazed up and was gone!
By this time the soldier was reduced to a mere lump, and when the maid took away the ashes next morning she found him, in the shape of a small tin heart. All that was left of the dancer was her spangle, and that was burnt as black as a coal.”
Hans Christian Andersen, The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Hans Christian Andersen
“The good and the beautiful is not forgotten; it lives in legend and in song.”
Hans Christian Andersen, Classic Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen
“We have no immortal souls; we have no future life; we are just like the green sea-weed, which, once cut down, can never revive again! Men, on the other hand, have a soul which lives for ever, lives after the body has become dust; it rises through the clear air, up to the shining stars!”
Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid

Hans Christian Andersen
“A mermaid has not an immortal soul, nor can she obtain one unless she wins the love of a human being. On the power of another hangs her eternal destiny.”
Hans Christian Andersen

Terri Windling
“Silence is another element we find in classic fairy tales — girls muted by magic or sworn to silence in order to break enchantment. In "The Wild Swans," a princess is imprisoned by her stepmother, rolled in filth, then banished from home (as her older brothers had been before her). She goes in search of her missing brothers, discovers that they've been turned into swans, whereupon the young girl vows to find a way to break the spell. A mysterious woman comes to her in a dream and tells her what to do: 'Pick the nettles that grow in graveyards, crush and spin them into thread, then weave them into coats and throw them over your brothers' backs.' The nettles burn and blister, yet she never falters: picking, spinning, weaving, working with wounded, crippled hands, determined to save her brothers. All this time she's silent. 'You must not speak,' the dream woman has warned, 'for a single world will be like a knife plunged into your brothers' hearts.'

You must not speak. That's what my stepfather said: don't speak, don't cry, don't tell. That's what my mother said as well, as we sat in hospital waiting rooms -- and I obeyed, as did my brothers. We sat as still and silent as stone while my mother spun false tales to explain each break and bruise and burn. Our family moved just often enough that her stories were fresh and plausible; each new doctor believed her, and chided us children to be more careful. I never contradicted those tales. I wouldn't have dared, or wanted to. They'd send me into foster care. They'd send my young brothers away. And so we sat, and the unspoken truth was as sharp as the point of a knife.”
Terri Windling, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen
“Life is a faerytale written by God's hand.”
Hans Christian Andersen

“The only thing worse than a "redneck" is a city person who thinks all people from the country are rednecks.”
Brent Alan Beck

Christina Soontornvat
“Tell us the one about the mermaid again," said Dree. "That one's so heart-breaking, it must be real.”
Christina Soontornvat, The Changelings

Ljupka Cvetanova
“The King is naked! If only he was a Prince!”
Ljupka Cvetanova, The New Land

Kate Morton
“The walls were covered in paper that might once have been blue and white stripe, but which time and moisture had turned murky gray, spotted and peeling in places. Faded scenes from Hans Christian Andersen hung along one side: the brave tin soldier atop his fire, the pretty girl in red shoes, the little mermaid weeping for her lost past. It smelled musty, of ghostly children and long-settled dust. Vaguely alive.”
Kate Morton, The House at Riverton

Ana Claudia Antunes
“Here there was a cheerful boy
At least he created tales and lived in joy.
Nursery rhymes his grandmother told,
Songs and tales emerged gladly in gold.

Caring heart, affection spoke loud as brighter,
He made the decision: he would be a writer!
Rising laughters, crying tears, many feelings,
Inserted everything and nothing was in vain.
So he transformed the ugly into beautiful,
Tales to amuse and make everyone sane,
In there he went, without daydreams or zeal.
As such it was born the icon of literature still.
No one denied he was exceedingly bountiful.

A ballerina loves the soldier in his world,
Nothing gets involved in his fairy tales,
Dancing from a poor weak boy to a king,
Eccentric prince of charm in winged corners!
Rare star of sweet tenderness,
Sensible and masterful in tenderness,
Emchanted kingdom of dreams and candor,
Now a divine fire of a soul he shines.

Havia um menino alegre porem so
Ao menos criava contos e deles vivia
Nas historias que contava sua avo,
Seus contos surgiam pois ele os via.

Carinho nao faltava em seu coracao ator,
Havia tomado a decisao: seria escritor!
Risos, lagrimas, sentimentos saos,
Inseria tudo e nada era em vao.
Transformava ate o feio em belo,
Inadvertia e divertia com seu elo,
Adiante ia, sem devaneios e zelo.
Nascia assim o icone da literatura.

A bailarina ama o soldado em seu mundo,
Nada se interpunha em seus contos de fadas,
De pobre menino fraco e cogitabundo,
Era principe de encantos em cantos alados!
Rara estrela de doce brandura,
Sensata e magistral em ternura,
Em seu reino de sonhos e candura,
No fogo divino de sua alma fulgura.”
Ana Claudia Antunes, ACross Tic