Odense, Denmark is the birthplace of only child and prolific author Hans Christian Andersen. Born in 1805, he wrote plays, travelogues and more, but is best-remembered for his fairy tales, among them “The Princess and the Pea”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, and “Thumbelina”.
One of the most familiar of his stories, and of course, one of the biggest commercial successes of our time is “The Little Mermaid”. We went to visit her statue on the Langelinie promenade, and to view the nearby fountains and waterfront.
The statue of The Little Mermaid was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, founder of the Carlsberg brewing company, after he’d seen a ballet about the fairy tale in Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre.The ballerina in the production was Ellen Price, and Jacobsen had asked her to model for sculptor Edvard Eriksen. She refused to model in the nude, however, so although her likeness is represented in the statue’s head, the body is that of Eriksen’s wife, Eline. My face and body are my own.
Another classic story of Andersen’s is “The Ugly Duckling”. I thought of it when I spied an elegant swan mom and dad with their fuzzy little cygnets sailing the waters surrounding Kronborg Castle.
Anderson died in 1875. His resting place is only two blocks from our lodging in Copenhagen, so I paid it a visit, finding it an understated monument for the man who received an annual stipend from the Danish government, who considered him a national treasure. His final resting place may be modest, but he left behind a large legacy which continues to give to his admirers worldwide.