Friday, 20 February 2015
When my daughter and I go for a walk we always have to stop after a few yards while she gets a stone out of her boot. Then, often, we stop a few yards later as she can still feel something else digging into her sole.
"You're like the princess and the pea," I said to her on Tuesday when we had stopped three times within sight of our front gate!
Actually this fairy tale was one of my favourites when I was small. I still have the original, rather dog eared but much loved copy of the book it came from complete with wonderful Edmund Dulac illustrations.
The Princess and the Pea was first published in 1835 alongside two other stories. And although Andersen was Danish it is believed this particular story had its origins in Swedish folklore. Apparently it was unpopular with the critics when first published as they disliked Andersen's casual, chatty style and the story's apparent lack of morals. It just goes to show - what do critics know!
Of course I love The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes, (I think every child loves that one!) and The Snow Queen too.
Andersen was an only child. His mother was a washerwoman and it was his father who introduced him to literature, (although there are theories that Andersen may actually have been an illegitimate son of King Christian VIII). He received a basic education and said that his school years were the unhappiest of his life. While there he was actually discouraged from writing and became depressed.
On February 26th it's Tell A Fairy Tale Day. Storytellers will be going into schools and children will be dressing up. But you're never too old for a fairy tale so this week I'm going to re-read The Princess and The Pea as well as a few other favourites.
On Thursday we had a new grand-daughter, a beautiful little redhead. One day I hope to be reading fairy tales to her as well. Here she is at one day old.
Thank-you for reading. Have a lovely week.