The Tinderbox

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"The Tinderbox"
Tinder Box 01.jpg
Illustration by Vilhelm Pedersen,
Andersen's first and favorite illustrator
Author Hans Christian Andersen
Translator Charles Boner
Country Denmark
Language Danish
Characters Soldier
Old Witch
The Princess
The Queen
The King
Three Dogs
Genre(s) Literary fairy tale
Published in Fairy Tales Told for Children (first booklet)
Publication type Fairy tale collection
Publisher C. A. Reitzel
Media type Print
Publication date May 1835
Published in English 1846 in A Danish Story-Book
Notable adaptations First Danish animated movie
Followed by Big Claus and Little Claus

"The Tinderbox" is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It was originally published in Copenhagen, Denmark in May 1835 in the first booklet of Fairy Tales Told for Children. The three other stories in the booklet were "Big Claus and Little Claus", "The Princess and the Pea", and "Little Ida's Flowers". The critics did not like these stories. They thought the stories immoral. "The Tinderbox" is Andersen's retelling of "The Spirit in the Candle", a traditional Danish story he knew as a child. It is also similar to "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp", another Andersen childhood favorite. The tale has been adapted to various media including the first Danish animated movie.[1]

Story[change | change source]

A soldier steals a magic tinderbox from an old witch. The tinderbox can summon three magic dogs that will do what the soldier wants them to do. He orders one dog to bring him a sleeping princess from her parents' castle. When the king and queen learn where their daughter is, the soldier is arrested and sentenced to death. At the last moment, he summons the dogs. They save his life and he marries the princess.

Other websites[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Opie, p. 206

References[change | change source]

  • Opie, Iona and Peter. 1974. The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford University Press.