A newly discovered Hans Christian Andersen letter reveals the fairy tale writer never got to have his own “happily ever after.”
The emotional letter, believed to be written in 1832 when Andersen was just 27-years-old, indicates the author of tales such as “The Little Mermaid” and “The Princess And The
Pea” never got over his first love.
The letter was sent to Christian Voigt, the brother of Riborg Voigt -- a woman he continued to love despite the fact she married another man. In it, he confessed that a number of his poems were inspired by his unrequited feelings for Riborg. But those feelings may not have been so unrequited.
Denmark’s leading Hans Christian Andersen expert told reporters, “If only he could have known that he was not alone in his infatuation. When Riborg Voigt died, the poems he had written for her were found along with a bouquet and a photograph of Andersen in a hidden compartment in her drawer.”
Andersen acted in a similar way. He carried a letter from Riborg in a purse that he wore around his neck until the day that he died in 1875, at age 70.
Andersen never dreamed that his letter would ever be discovered, in fact he asked Christian Voigt to burn the letter after reading. Clearly, he didn’t. After Riborg’s great-grandson died, Andersen’s letter was found among his belongings.
The letter has been donated to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, who already has a number of letters between the poet and his lost love.
The poet once wrote, “If you looked down to the bottom of my soul, you would understand fully the source of my longing and – pity me. Even the open, transparent lake has its unknown depths, which no divers know.”
Not your normal fairy tale ending, but it was Andersen who also said “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.”