A historian rummaging through some old boxes in Denmark's National Archives has found what is believed to be an unknown tale written by Hans Christian Andersen.

Thought to have been written before 'The Ugly Duckling' or 'The Emperor's New Clothes' when Andersen was still a teenager, 'The Tallow Candle' is a sad account of a lonely candle that wanted to be lit.

Esben Brage, the retired historian told press he was 'ecstatic' to have discovered the six-page text which lay untouched at the bottom of a box belonging to a wealthy family from Andersen's hometown of Odense in central Denmark.

unknown hans christian andersen fairy tale The discovered manuscript


A senior curator at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Ejnar Stig Askgaard told The Associated Press:

"I often get calls about stuff thought to have been of Andersen's hand. Most of the time, it is not. This time I was thrilled. This is a very early attempt at prose by Andersen, who was then 18."

Speaking to the Guardian, author and fairy tale expert Sara Maitland agreed with the authorship of the work, describing the story as "Highly moralistic, rather sentimental, and it's animating an inanimate object. That's very Andersen."

It was seven years after 'The Tallow Candle' was written in 1830 that Andersen produced what was until now thought to be his debut work, 'The Traveling Companion'.

Andersen went on to become the author of some of the world's best known and loved fairytales, and was a huge success during his own lifetime.

In June 1847, he traveled to Britain for the first time where he charmed the aristocracy and met his hero Charles Dickens at a party thrown by the Countess of Blessington. The two men became friends until falling out ten years later.

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  • A newly found manuscript of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen which has been located in Odense, pictured in the State Archives in Copenhagen, Denmark Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. The story of ‘The Tallow Candle’ might have been written about 1823, when he was 18 year old. (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Martin Bubandt)

  • A newly found manuscript of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen which has been located in Odense, pictured in the State Archives in Copenhagen, Denmark Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. The story of ‘The Tallow Candle’ might have been written about 1823, when he was 18 year old. (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Martin Bubandt)

  • A newly found manuscript of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen which has been located in Odense, pictured in the State Archives in Copenhagen, Denmark Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. The story of ‘The Tallow Candle’ might have been written about 1823, when he was 18 year old. (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Martin Bubandt)

  • A newly found manuscript of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen which has been located in Odense, pictured in the State Archives in Copenhagen, Denmark Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. The story of ‘The Tallow Candle’ might have been written about 1823, when he was 18 year old. (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Martin Bubandt)

  • A newly found manuscript of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen which has been located in Odense, pictured in the State Archives in Copenhagen, Denmark Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. The story of ‘The Tallow Candle’ might have been written about 1823, when he was 18 year old. (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Martin Bubandt)


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