20 Honest and Magical Life Lessons from Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

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Happy birthday to Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who is best known for his fairy tales like The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Ugly Duckling. “In Denmark they mention Andersen in the same breath as Shakespeare and Goethe, and not without reason,” writes The Independent. “Unlike the brothers Grimm who were merely collectors of folk tales, the majority of Andersen’s 156 tales were entirely of his own invention.” The influential writer’s stories contained a healthy balance of dark and light subjects, and offer important life lessons.

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

“To be born in a duck’s nest, in a farmyard, is of no consequence to a bird, if it is hatched from a swan’s egg.”

“But just to keep alive isn’t enough. To live you must have sunshine and freedom and a little flower to love.”

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.”

“To be of use to the world is the only way to be happy.”

“My life will be the best illustration of all my work.”

“Imperfections we all have, but we also have compensations.”

“He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him.”

“Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with short steps.”

“Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.”

“Life is like a beautiful melody, only the lyrics are messed up.”

“The whole world is a series of miracles . . . but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.”

“We cannot expect to be happy always … by experiencing evil as well as good we become wise.”

“The sun shines upon good and bad alike.”

“Everything you look at can be turned into a story . . . you can make a tale of everything you touch.”

“Each time I think that the song is ended something higher and better begins for me.”

“When the bird of the heart begins to sing, too often will reason stop up her ears.”

“But shouldn’t all of us on Earth give the best we have to others and offer whatever is in our power?”

“When we get to the end of the story, you will know more than you do now. . . . “