Hans Christian Andersen never got his own 'happily ever after'

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Hans Christian Andersen Never Got His Own 'Happily Ever After'


A newly discovered Hans Christian Andersen letter reveals the fairy tale writer never got to have his own "happily ever after."

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Hans Christian Andersen never got his own 'happily ever after'
Paintings by Italian children on themes of Hans Christian Anderson. (Photo by Herbert Orth/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Hans Christian Anderson
Hans Christian Andersen
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1800: Hans Christian Anderson, 1805-1875. Danish author of fairy tales. From the book 'The Masterpiece Library of Short Stories, Scandinavian and Dutch, Volume 19' (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1850: The little mermaid visits the Old Witch of the Sea, to ask her to transform her into a human being. An illustration from the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, 'The Little Mermaid'. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Hans Christian Anderson and Henrik Ibsen, c1900. Scandinavian poets of the 19th century. French advertising for Liebig, extract of meat, c1900. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
Image of a statue of Hans Christian Anderson, designed in 1896 by John Gelert, located in Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois, 1929. A boy is sitting on the pedestal below the statue. From the Chicago Daily News collection. (Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)
circa 1950: A bronze cast statue of 'The Little Mermaid' at the entrance to the harbour in Copenhagen. It was erected in 1913, in honour of the Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
A view of the city hall square and the statue from Hans Christian Anderson of fairy tales in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Al Greene Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Actors Danny Kaye and Zizi Jeanmaire in a scene from the movie 'Hans Christian Anderson', 1952. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
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The emotional letter, believed to be written in 1832 when Andersen was just 27 years old, indicates the author of tales such as "The Little Mermaid" and "The Princess And The Pea" never got over his first love.

The letter was sent to Christian Voigt, the brother of Riborg Voigt -- a woman he continued to love despite the fact she married another man. In it, he confessed that a number of his poems were inspired by his unrequited feelings for Riborg. But those feelings may not have been so unrequited.

Denmark's leading Hans Christian Andersen expert told reporters, "If only he could have known that he was not alone in his infatuation. When Riborg Voigt died, the poems he had written for her were found along with a bouquet and a photograph of Andersen in a hidden compartment in her drawer."

Andersen acted in a similar way. He carried a letter from Riborg in a purse that he wore around his neck until the day that he died in 1875, at age 70.

Andersen never dreamed that his letter would ever be discovered -- in fact, he asked Christian Voigt to burn the letter after reading. Clearly, he didn't. After Riborg's great-grandson died, Andersen's letter was found among his belongings.

The letter has been donated to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, who already has a number of letters between the poet and his lost love.

The poet once wrote, "If you looked down to the bottom of my soul, you would understand fully the source of my longing and – pity me. Even the open, transparent lake has its unknown depths, which no divers know."

Not your normal fairy tale ending, but it was Andersen who also said "Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale."

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