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Disney's The Little Mermaid Hans Christian Andersen Myths and Legends Pop Culture

Who is Hans Christian Andersen?

1836 Portrait of Hans Christian Andersen by Christian Albrecht Jensen (H.C. Andersen Museum, Odense, Denmark)

Hans Christian Andersen captured the world’s attention, with his fairy tale of The Little Mermaid in 1837.

But who is Hans Christian Andersen?

Hans was born on April 2nd, 1805 in Odense, Denmark and was the only child. At an early age, Hans father exposed to literature as a child, most notably Arabian Nights. Which had a lifelong impact on him, considering Hans father had an elementary school education, while his mother was illiterate washerwoman.

His father passed away in 1816, when he was 11 years old. His mother, remarried in 1818 and sent Hans to the local elementary school, so he could receive a basic education and have a career.

Before he became an author, he was an weaver’s apprentice, and even became a tailor.

Portrait of Hans Christian Andersen (1869)

When Hans was fourteen years old, he moved to Copenhagen to become an actor. He was enrolled in the Royal Danish Theatre as a soprano, but had to stop, because his voice changed. A colleague at the theatre had advised Hans to become a poet. Hans took this advice seriously and started to write.

A director at the Royal Danish Theatre had sent Hans to a grammar school in Slagelse, and had persuaded King Frederick VI, to fund part of Hans education.

In 1822, Hans had published his first story titled The Ghost at Palnatoke’s Grave. 

In 1829, he would publish his first successful short story, A Journey on Foot from Holmen’s Canal to the East Point of Amager. From there, Hans Christian Andersen, began to write for the local theatre and wrote, Love on St. Nicholas Church Tower. 

Hans later went on to receive a small travel grant from the King in 1833. This allowed Hans to travel through Europe and meet some very prosperous and influential people of his day.

Illustration by Christian Birmingham for The Little Mermaid

Between 1835-1837, Hans Christian Andersen had written his collection of fairy tales, titled Fairy Tales told for Children, that were published in three installments. The first installment that was released in May 1835 contained these stories: The Tinderbox, The Princess and the Pea, Little Claus and Big Claus, and Little Ida’s Flowers. Ida Thiele, was who Hans had created these stories for, she was the daughter of an early benefactor. Her father, folklorist Just Mathias Thiele, had paid Andersen thirty rixdollars for the manuscript, and the booklet was priced at twenty-three shillings.

His second installment, that was released in December 1835, contained the following fairy tales: Thumbelina, The Traveling Companion, and  The Naughty Boy. Thumbelina was based off the story of Tom Thumb about miniature people.

The third and final booklet, which was released on April 7th, 1837, contained The Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes. It would be The Little Mermaid that would propel Hans to stardom, cementing his career as a writer.

Illustration by Christian Birmingham for The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid was written for his homosexual lover, Edvard Collin, who was the son of his benefactor and official guardian Jonas Collin. Hans was known to flirt with both males and females, and was known to fall in love quickly. He and Edvard had formed a fast friendship and Hans was smitten.

Unfortunately, Edvard didn’t feel the same romantic sentiments as Hans. When Edvard announced he was marrying a woman, Hans was devastated and felt utterly betrayed. So, he poured his heart into his work and wrote The Little Mermaid as a love letter for unrequited love for Edvard.

It is also known, that Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid was loosely based and inspired by De la Motte Fouqué‘s novella Undine that was released in 1811. Undine and The Little Mermaid have very similar themes. Most notably,  a mermaid who must marry a human prince (knight) to retain a human soul.

The Little Mermaid wouldn’t be the only story, that Hans would write for an unrequited love. In 1843, he wrote The Nightingale for Jenny Lind, a famous singer, who was nicknamed ‘Swedish Nightingale’ to express his love for her.

In 1849, Thomas Vilhelm Pedersen was the first illustrator to illustrate Hans Christian Andersen’s legendary fairy tales

In 1845, his folklores and fairy tales, were translated in English and his audience grew worldwide.

An interesting fact about Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, is that they were originally published without any illustrations.  That is until 1849, when Thomas Vilhelm Pedersen, a Danish artist became the first artist to illustrate the fairy tales.

In 1872, Hans Christian Andersen, would pass away, a lifelong bachelor, who yearned for nothing more in life than to be love and to be loved in return. In his lifetime, he had written over 100 children’s stories.

Over a century has passed, since the death of Hans Christian Andersen, and his life and his beloved fairy tales are immortalized in our culture. His classic children’s fairy tales have been adapted to films, ballets, operas, tv series, songs, etc.

His stories have withstood the test of time and will for centuries to come. We shall always remember the man who captured our hearts with The Little Mermaid.

“But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.” – Hans Christian Andersen

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Myths and Legends

Grimm’s Fairy Tale of The Nixie in the Mill-Pond

Illustration by Otto Ubbelohde to the fairy tale The Nixie of the Mill-Pond

The Nixie of the Mill-Pond was written by the Brothers Grimm and is included in their collection of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales that was published in 1857.

The Nixie of the Mill-Pond tells the story of a miller and his wife, who are on the brink of losing their mill farm. One day, a beautiful nixie ascends from the water and visits the farm, calling the miller by name. The miller confides in the nixie about the state of the mill farm and how he’s going to lose his livelihood and home. The nixie strikes a deal with the miller, that he will give him wealth, if he gives her whatever is born that morning. The miller assumes that the nixie is talking about a dog or farm animal, so he agrees to the hasty deal.

When the miller returned home, his wife had given birth to healthy baby boy. It doesn’t take long, for the miller to come to the realization that the nixie knew that his wife was giving birth to his son and that he owed the nixie his son. The miller and his wife are perplexed on what to do, since they don’t want to give the nixie their child.

Years pass, the miller”s wealth grows, as does his son. Yet, the miller is still concerned about the nixie returning to collect his son.

The son became a skilled hunter and marries a girl from a nearby village. One day, the son shoots a deer and washes the blood from the deer in the mill-pond. The nixie snatches the son, taking him underwater with her.

The Nixie of the Mill-Pond illustration by H.J. Ford

When he didn’t return home, his wife becomes worried, and suspects that the nixie is behind his disappearance. She goes to the pond and calls out her husbands name and the nixie, begging for his return. She falls asleep at the waters edge and has a vivid dream, that she is climbing up a cliff and meets an old woman, inside a cottage. She wakes up the next morning, and does exactly what her dream had told her to do, so she goes up the mountain and finds a cottage with an old woman inside. The old woman, gives her a gold comb and instructs her to comb her hair at the pond’s edge on a full moon and set the comb on the water’s edge, once she’s done. Her husband rises to the surface, briefly, sorrowfully, then a wave drags him back into the water.

The wife is unsatisfied with having only seen a glimpse of her husband, so she returns to the old lady in the cottage. The old woman hands the wife a golden flute. She instructs her to play it on a full moon at the pond’s edge, just as before. She does as she’s instructed and places the flute on the sand.  Her husband partially ascends from the depths of the pond and is once again, dragged down from a wave.

The wife visits the old woman at the cottage for a third time. She is desperate to be reunited with her husband. The old woman gives her gold spinning wheel and instructs her to spin flax under the full moon, until she had a full spool to place on the bank of the pond. The wife does as she’s instructed, and this time, her husband breaks free from the water, enraging the nixie. The nixie conjures a large wave to pull the couple into the water, but they escape.

The couple goes to the old woman for help and she transforms the couple into frogs. A flood transports the couple to the pond, where they are transformed back into their human forms, but are separated from each other. The couple become shepherds as a way to support themselves and are lonely and depressed without one another.

Many years pass, and the couple are reunited tending to their flocks, but do not recognize each other. One night, the man plays on the same flute, the very same song that she had played years ago at the pond. The woman begins to cry, overwhelmed with emotion and tells him the story of how she lost her husband.

Moments pass, and they finally recognize each other. They kiss and lived happily ever after.

Categories
Pop Culture

Briar Rose Winery

Briar Rose Winery is located in the picturesque  Temecula, California. Temecula Valley is the heart of Southern California  Wine Country, where there are immaculate wineries, that grow and produce Premium World Class Estate Wines. There are over 40 wineries in Temecula Valley, each with their own distinct blends and wine techniques. These wines are not widely distributed, so the only way to taste and savor the wines, is to visit the wineries themselves.

So, you might be asking yourself, what does Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) have to do with mermaids?

The answer is simple.

Briar Rose Winery was inspired by the classic Disney fairy tales, so it makes sense, that the blog would be invited for a special fairy tale themed wine tasting.

Briar Rose Winery, located in the beautiful wine county of Temecula, California.  Photo taken by Ciska Roos

The entrance to Briar Rose Winery is something out of a fairy tale with it’s fern arches, rose bushes, and adorable cats roaming the grounds. The rose garden is the center of the winery, with a statue of Cinderella in the center and Snow White’s Cottage as the backdrop.

Upon arrival, to the quaint estate, you’re greeted by the cheerful Briar Rose Winery staff,  who are as passionate about their wines, as they are their guests. The staff, lets you choose your table and encourages you to relax, enjoy the scenery, and savor the delicious Premium World Class Estate Wines.

Briar Rose Winery photo taken by Ciska Roos

The centerpieces for each table is either a wine bottle used as a vase or an Eiffel Towel vase. We brought our favorite Lolita Wine Glasses to celebrate the day’s festivities.

You’re given a menu of the three very different and distinct wine tasting offerings: Reds, Whites, and Mixed.

During the wine tasting experience, your server tells you the story behind every wine served from how it’s made and the key notes of the wine. The rain of the season that wine was harvested and so much more.

View of the vineyards from Briar Rose Winery, located in the beautiful wine country of Temecula, California. Photo taken by Ciska Roos

After an hour or so of tasting the delicious wines that Briar Rose Winery has to offer, you’re encouraged to explore the grounds. Briar Rose Winery is filled with wonderful nooks and crannies to take photos, including a large wooden swing near the entrance.

It’s very easy to spend hours at Briar Rose Winery. The staff go above and beyond to make sure you’re experience with them is something straight out of a fairy tale!

So, the next time you’re in Temecula, California, I highly recommend that you check out Briar Rose Winery! You’ll feel like a modern-day princess…or mermaid!

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Disney's The Little Mermaid Hans Christian Andersen Pop Culture

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is vandalized with “Racist Fish”

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is vandalized with the words “Racist Fish” on  Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Tragedy struck Copenhagen on July 3rd, when the bronze statue of The Little Mermaid on the Langelinie Pier vandalized with the words ‘Racist Fish’. The words ‘Racist Fish’ were graffitied on the large rock, that the mermaid sits on.

Copenhagen authorities have no inclination of who could’ve graffitied the famed sculpture and have launched an investigation to find the culprits.

The Copenhagen police made the statement, “We consider it vandalism and have started an investigation.”

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is vandalized with the words “Racist Fish” on  Friday, July 3rd, 2020

It is speculated, that Disney’s controversial casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in the live-action adaption of The Little Mermaid is whatcould’ve what prompted the act of vandalism.

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is vandalized with the words “Racist Fish” on  Friday, July 3rd, 2020

In 1909, The Little Mermaid statue was commissioned by Carl Jacobsen and sculpted by Edvard Erichsen. Ellen Prince, a well-known ballerina was the model for the head, while Edvard’s wife was the model for the mermaid’s nude figure.

Edvard had designed the mermaid to be human with a fish tail, looking out at sea, depicting the mermaid remembering her life in the sea.

The 107 year old statue was given as a gift to the city of Copenhagen on August 23rd, 1913- to honor Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of The Little Mermaid or Den Lille Havfrue. The statue attracts a million visitors a year and is Copenhagen’s largest tourist attraction.

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is vandalized with the words “Racist Fish” on  Friday, July 3rd, 2020

The Little Mermaid is the story about a young mermaid, who rescues a human prince and falls in love with him. The story of The Little Mermaid is a cultural phenomenon and has been adapted into various films, ballets, TV Shows, paintings, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hans Christian Andersen Myths and Legends

The Myth of Ondine

Undine illustration by Arthur Rackham. The illustration is featured in Baro Friedrich De La Motte Fouque romance novella “Undine” that was published in 1811.

The myth of Ondine or Undine has been around for centuries, as far back as the Ancient Greece. Unda is Latin for “wave” or “water”.

The story of Ondine has been adapted and changed throughout the centuries, yet, astonishingly, key elements of the story has remained the same.

The story is of a young water nymph named Ondine who is beautiful and has an enchanting singing voice. Ondine is immortal, but doesn’t have a soul. The only way for Ondine to obtain one, is to marry a human, which would  then shorten her life, but she would gain a human soul.

Ondine falls in love with a human, and becomes human to be with him. If Ondine’s husband was to be unfaithful to her, he will die. She soon marries him, and bears him a mixed-breed child. Her child is born with a soul and has many aquatic attributes.

Ondine finds her husband with another woman and he soon dies.

This legendary story, would later inspire French author Baron Friedrich De La Motte Fouque and his novella of  Undine that was published in 1811. Years later, his version of the story,  would inspire the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen and his story, Den Lille Havfrue or The Little Mermaid and was published in 1837.

It’s truly incredible, that these mermaid myths and legends, never die. They adapt and change with the times. They are immortal and live on forever in our hearts and our minds.

 

Categories
Hans Christian Andersen Pop Culture

Ashly Lovett


“Rescue” by Ashly Lovett

Ashly Lovett is an American artist, whose primary medium is chalk pastel. Her drawings are raw, dark, yet innocent.

In 2019, she launched a Kickstarter campaign, to produce her own version of Andersen’s classic tale of The Little Mermaid. Ashly’s twist on the project, was using her own sketches to depict the powerful and poignant scenes of the classic children’s fairy tale.


“New Legs” by Ashly Lovett

Ashly’s Kickstarter campaign was so well-received by the public, that it surpassed it’s goal, and earned $25k to fund her book.

"Ambition" by Ashly Lovett
“Ambition” by Ashly Lovett

Ashly released her book on her website and garnered immense success! Her book is definitely worth adding to your mermaid collection!