An unknown fairy tale by author Hans Christian Andersen has been unearthed, according to CBS News.
A Danish historian was riffling through some belongings at the National Archives when he stumbled across the previously unknown story. The tale is reportedly one of the earliest works written by the author. Experts believe it was written when Andersen was around the age of 18.
Retired historian Esben Brage found the six-page story in the archives back in October. The story, titled Tallow Candle, was dedicated by the writer to a vicar’s widow by the name of Bunkeflod.
“I often get calls about stuff thought to have been of Andersen’s hand. Most of the time, it is not. This time I was thrilled,” Hans Christian Andersen Museum senior curator Ejnar Stig Askgaard explained to The Associated Press. “This is a very early attempt at prose by Andersen, who was then 18.”
According to Gawker, the story follows the slightly depressing adventures of a lonely candle who longs to be ignited. It enlists the help of tinder box to make its dreams come true.
It’s currently unknown if the manuscript will ever see the light of day. Although the tale isn’t as advanced as his later works, chances are Tallow Candle could find itself in a literary collection at some point down the road.
“The text is not at the level of the more mature fairy tales that we know from Andersen’s later writing,” Askgaard said. “We see traces of Andersen’s history in the text, the language and the themes in the manuscript … it all fits with him, it all bears his fingerprint.”
Hans Christian Andersen is best known for his stories The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling, among many others. Fans of the author are no doubt delighted that another one of his fairy tales has been unearthed by historians.