Remember that bedtime story about the ugly duckling who became a swan? The image of a princess sleeping on a ton of mattresses... and a pea? The FairyTale about a mermaid who sold her voice to a sorceress to try to win the love of a human prince? Meet the Danish author of all the saddest and sweetest of the fairy tales we all grew up with, tales seen referenced in pop culture so frequently that most people have no idea they were written by the same author.

Born on April 2, 1805 (which is now "National Children's Book Day"), Hans Christian Andersen (abbreviated H. C. Andersen in Denmark) grew up to become to fairy tales what Creator/{{Shakespeare}} became to drama. His works range from the simple to the epic, are full of complex but meaningful symbolism, and span the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism.

The most familiar version of "The Little Mermaid" in the western world is probably Disney's, which deviates strongly from the original: Hans Christian's protagonist has NoNameGiven, no bikini top made from seashells, and no {{Non Human Sidekick}}s, but does have a grandmother, and wants to marry the prince for "an immortal soul" (yes, in the Christian sense) as much as for romantic love. Not to mention the minor fact that said prince marries another girl, meaning she'll die unless she stabs him, which she doesn't. And then there's a bit of disconnected DeusExMachina {{Aesoptinum}} MoodWhiplash, but [[FanonDiscontinuity we don't talk about that]].

Interestingly, Creator/OscarWilde still thought the story too upbeat and penned an even darker version, "The Fisherman and His Soul" as a reaction. In this charming tale a human must [[DealWithTheDevil sell his immortal soul]] in order to marry a mermaid.

Other works have come through the adaptation process about as reasonably intact as can be expected. "The Snow Queen", basically an epic {{Gender Flip}}ped RescueRomance heavy on the symbolism, has been turned into a science-fiction novel, an animated movie, and an anime by NHK, ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura's'' network. The Disney film ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' was originally meant to be an adaptation of "The Snow Queen", and even had it as its WorkingTitle (and it's still titled that in some countries), but ended up developing into its own original story with inspiration from the fairy tale.

Wiki/TheOtherWiki says he was also quite possibly bisexual, so that's fun too. It's also noted that Andersen himself, his eccentric behavior and arrogance usually led to him getting kicked out by the various nobles who housed him.

!!Works by Hans Christian Andersen with their own pages include:

* "Literature/TheEmperorsNewClothes"
* "Literature/TheGirlWhoTrodOnTheLoaf"
* "Literature/TheLittleMatchGirl"
* "Literature/TheLittleMermaid"
* "Literature/TheNightingale"
* "Literature/ThePrincessAndThePea"
* "Literature/TheShadow"
* "Literature/TheSteadfastTinSoldier"
* "Literature/TheSnowQueen"
* "Literature/TheTinderBox"
* "Literature/TheUglyDuckling"

!!Andersen's other works provide examples of:
%% Zero context examples have been commented out. Please write up a full example before uncommenting.
* AccentuateTheNegative:
** An important point in the tale "Something", where a {{caustic critic}} is "something" because he does that constantly.
** The Snail in "The Snail and the Rosebush".
** The Devil in "The Philosopher's Stone".
* AnAesop: Often a SpaceWhaleAesop as in "The Rose Elf" (don't kill your sister's beloved, or the spirits that live inside the blossoms will murder you in your sleep).
* AnimateInanimateObject: The shoes in "The Red Shoes" not only compel the poor heroine into an InvoluntaryDance, they dance off with her severed feet after she has them amputated.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: In his story, "The Galoshes of Fortune", the eponymous shoes grant the wishes of whoever is wearing them. This usually ends badly, as the characters are unaware of their power.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: More than one of his characters ponder this, with ''truth'' as the third platonic entity in the mix. ''The Philosopher's stone'' plays it straight.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: When companies adapt his works, most writers attempts to remove the DiedHappilyEverAfter trope with varying results.
%%* BreakTheHaughty: "The Wicked Prince"
* CrankyNeighbor: A mild variety, mostly on the subject of UsefulNotes/{{Denmark}} and UsefulNotes/{{Norway}}. Mostly in "The Rags", where the two nationalities lash out towards eachother, with an ironic twist. Also in ''The Elf Mound'', where the Norwegian Troll King is trying to get a bride from the more Danish fairy stock. She finds the Norwegian trolls rude.
%%* {{Curse}}
* DiedHappilyEverAfter: Dying horribly (which appears to be intended as happily) and going to Heaven seems to be Andersen's idea of the ultimate HappyEnding. Averted, however in "Literature/TheNightingale", which has a regular HappyEnding: the protagonist, thought to be already dead by everyone, survives after all.
* DisobeyThisMessage: The fairy in "The Garden of Paradise" tells the prince that she is bound to beckon to him and to say "Follow me". As she is a ForbiddenFruit, the prince needs to disobey that instruction.
* {{Disneyfication}}: A lot of his works has been adapted into animated features for kids, most of them naturally being done by Disney. ''WesternAnimation/{{Thumbelina|1994}}'' also fell into this, [[FollowTheLeader despite being done]] by Creator/DonBluth.
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** "The Storks". A young boy leads several other boys into singing a song that taunts a family of storks. As revenge, [[spoiler: the storks refuse to bring any of the boys baby brothers or sisters... except for the boy who led the song. The storks bring him a dead baby brother.]]
** "In the Duck Yard". An injured songbird is resting in a duck yard, where a proud and haughty Portuguese duck resides. The songbird makes the mistake of comparing the Portuguese to a cat, so [[spoiler: the duck decapitates the songbird.]]
** ''The Red Shoes'', in which the protagonist is punished for paying more attention to the title objects than to her family or to church sermons by being forced to dance in them until she dies. Oh, and the shoes keep on dancing, [[spoiler: even after her feet get chopped off!]]
%%* TheFairFolk: The Ice Maiden, among many others.
%%* FairyTale
* FamilyUnfriendlyViolence: Most obviously in "The Red Shoes," where the heroine has her feet chopped off because her cursed shoes won't come off and won't stop dancing.
* ForbiddenFruit: The fairy in "The Garden of Paradise". Should she be kissed, the garden will be ruined.
* GossipEvolution: "It's Perfectly True" shows how the true story evolves into so many different versions with every teller still insisting, it's Perfectly True.
%%* HappilyEverAfter
* HopeSpot: Many tales come out as this. The small tale has a {{happy ending}}, but ''the big picture'' is always a different matter.
%%* AnIcePerson: The Ice Maiden.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: Eliza in "The Wild Swans" is so sweet that she can turn {{curse}}d toads into beautiful red poppies.
* {{Irony}}: In "Red Shoes", all the protagonist wanted to do was dance. This was literally all she could do.
%%* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: Aphtanides in "The Shepherd's Story of the Bond of Friendship".
* KickTheDog: Inge, "The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf", is first introduced as a child tormenting insects.
%%* LeafBoat: ''Thumbelina'' is probably the UrExample.
* MouseWorld: "Thumbelina" features one, with the tiny protagonist having adventures among the small creatures of the forest.
* MutualEnvy: In "The Goloshes of Fortune", the titular goloshes cause wishes to come true (although no one who wears them is aware of this property). A watchman puts them on and, looking up into a lieutenant's window, wishes he was the lieutenant. He enters the consciousness of the lieutenant -- and the lieutenant, looking down enviously, wishes he was the watchman, which restores the watchman to himself.
* NamelessNarrative: Many of his stories don't name the characters and merely refer to them by their titles, e.g. 'the mermaid' and 'the prince' in "The Little Mermaid."
* NatureIsNotNice: "A drop of water" is about a scientist who looks at a drop of water in a magnifying glass and his horrified to find it full of tiny EldritchAbomination like creatures tearing eachother apart.
%%* ThePowerOfLove
%%* PragmaticAdaptation
* {{Pride}}: A common FatalFlaw. Vain characters, or characters who refuse to humble themselves, often get humbled by circumstance.
%%* RageAgainstTheHeavens: "The Wicked Prince".
%%* RipVanWinkle (without the snapback): The end of "The Marsh King's Daughter".
* {{Satan}}: Features in "The Philosopher's Stone", among other works. He is prominent when Andersen discusses truth vs untruth. Satan is clearly the "prince of lies", while God is the equivalent of truth.
* ScareEmStraight: Present in many of his works. The most egregious example would be "Ole-Luk-Oie". Simplified, writing a "C" (and worse) in school will get you to hell after death. Yes, a "C".
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: As the writer of so many beloved fairy tales, his works fall right off the idealistic end of the scale.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Many modern adaptations of "The Red Shoes" have Karen finding a less painful way of removing the title ClingyMacGuffin, and the story ends with her still alive.
* SwanBoats: In the fairy tale "Ole-Luk-Oie", Hjalmar dreams that he rides in a boat pulled by swans.

!!Andersen has appeared as a HistoricalDomainCharacter in the following works:
* The 1952 film ''Hans Christian Andersen'', starring Creator/DannyKaye, which describes itself as "a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales" (a colorful way of saying it's almost entirely made up).
* ''[[VideoGame/FateExtra Fate Extra CCC]]'' and ''VideoGame/FateGrandOrder'', where he is a Caster-type Servant. Contrary to fellow famous writer Creator/WilliamShakespeare, his appearance is that of a [[OlderThanTheyLook child]] but with [[VocalDissonance the baritone voice of a fully-grown man]], representing how he has a childish mind capable of writing his fairy tales, but still carrying all his adult life experiences. He also loves [[{{Deconstruction}} tearing down the motivations of those around him]] [[{{Reconstruction}} but fully capable of acknowledging their strengths as well]].
* Swedish playwright ''Pär Olof Enquist'' wrote Andersen into his play ''Theatre/LifeOfTheEarthworms''. Enquist envisioned a HistoricalDomainCharacter setting where Andersen had a closure with the Heiberg couple, actress Johanne Louise and critic Johan Ludvig.

For further study, there is a free online course "Hans Christian Andersenís Fairy Tales" created by Hans Christian Andersen Centre here: https://www.futurelearn.com/partners/hans-christian-andersen-centre