fairy talesfairy talesfairy tales

  • Issue: February 2000
  • Artist: Shmuel Katz
  • Designer: Ruth Avrahmi
  • Stamps Size: 40 mm x 30.8 mm
  • Plate nos.: 400, 401, 402
  • Sheet of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Offset

Once upon a time... would be a most appropriate beginning for the story of Hans Christian Andersen, known by old and young alike as "The King of Tales", and whose 125th birthday is being celebrated this year.

Hans Christian Andersen was born in 1805, the son of a poor shoemaker and laundress. An only child, he was somewhat strange, withdrawn and rather unattractive. Andersen the child loved the stage and would often "put on plays" with the puppet theater he built.

One day... No, it did not take a day, nor did happen very easily, for Andersen to become a famous author and teller of children's stories. Hans Christian Andersen left his home and place of birth, Odensa, at age 14, for the big city of Copenhagen. He tried his hand at acting, singing, and dancing but without success. Neither were his early dramas produced on stage, but his patron of those times, Mr. Colin, manager of the Danish Theater, recognized his talent and arranged for him to receive a grant for studies. His first selection of stories was published in 1835, and from then on, until his death, he wrote 168 children's stories. Andersen also composed diaries of his many journeys, but his fame came from his fairy tales for children.

A Danish historian Janis Jurgensen claims - like in the fairy tales - that the renowned writer was actually a member of the Danish royal family who had been adopted at infancy, but who had been watched-over from behind the scenes. This theory can explain the fact that from childhood he had had the economic support for learning and traveling the world as well as his close relationships with nobility, and his acceptance in the affluent homes of Denmark, hobnobbing with high society of the world.

The Jewish aspect: two families, Malchior and Henriks, warmly adopted Andersen, who despite the admiration he received, had remained a lonely man who never married, nor had a family. All the fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen are an attempt to understand the inherent significance of real events, to elevate common sense. Through his wit, talent and humor both young and old readers were able to regard times of difficulty and crisis with optimism and a smile. Hans Christian Andersen died in 1875, having achieved fame and renown in his lifetime.

To conclude this fairy-tale story, his works are known and enjoyed by children and adults the world over to this very day!

Shosh Cohen
Director of Eduction and Youth Philately

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Andersen's fairy tales