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Andersen's Fairy Tales

Andersen's Fairy Tales


by Andersen, Hans Christian

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

There's like a whale's worth of shout-outs in Andersen's tales. So, we've got some listed below, but if you want a neat supplement to this section, check out the Hans Christian Andersen Center's list of motifs in Andersen's tales, which contains links to each of the tales that contains a given motif (such as angels, communion, or priest).

Literary and Philosophical References

  • Homer, The Iliad (A Rose from Homer's Grave.4, 9; The Muse of the Twentieth Century.28)
  • Homer (The Thorny Path.6)
  • The Odyssey (The Muse of the Twentieth Century.28)
  • Achilles and Hector (The Shadow.31)
  • Shakespeare (The Bird Phoenix.5, The Millennium.5, The Muse of the Twentieth Century.17)
  • Goethe, Faust (A Happy Disposition.15)
  • Goethe (The Millennium.11)
  • Molière (The Millennium.6, The Muse of the Twentieth Century.17)
  • Aristophanes, The Clouds (The Thorny Path.4)
  • Aristophanes (The Muse of the Twentieth Century.17)
  • Voltaire, (The Thorny Path.18)
  • Tristan and Isolde (The Old Pepperman's Nightcap.34)
  • Don Quixote (The Muse of the Twentieth Century.6)
  • The Eddas (The Muse of the Twentieth Century.13)
  • The Thousand and One Nights (The Muse of the Twentieth Century.13)
  • The Song of Hiawatha (The Muse of the Twentieth Century.22)
  • Byron, Prisoner of Chillon (The Ice Maiden.247)

Historical References

  • King Hans (The Magic Galoshes)
  • Michelangelo (The Bronze Pig.7, 22, 36; Psyche.2)
  • Galileo (The Bronze Pig.21, The Thorny Path.17)
  • Dante (The Bronze Pig.22)
  • Machiavelli (The Bronze Pig.22)
  • Holger the Dane (Holger the Dane.3-6, The Philosopher's Stone.1, "The Will-o'-the-Wisps Are in Town,"
  • Said the Bog Witch.7)
  • The Congress of Vienna (The Old Street Lamp.22, 34)
  • The Lombards and the Normans (The Swans' Nest.2-4)
  • Tycho Brahe (The Swans' Nest.8, The Thorny Path.20, The Muse of the Twentieth Century.22, Godfather's Picture Book.83)
  • Thespis (Everything In Its Right Place.29)
  • Vikings (The Swans' Nest.9; The Millennium.3; The Bog King's Daughter.2, 3, 34; The Two Brothers.1; The Songbird of the People.9; Godfather's Picture Book.24; The Days of the Week.2)
  • Charlemagne (The Millennium.6)
  • Napoleon (The Millennium.6, The Puppeteer.4, The Ice Maiden.64, The Wood Nymph.9)
  • Columbus (The Millennium.7, The Thorny Path.15)
  • Cortes (The Millennium.7)
  • Luther (The Millennium.11, The Puppeteer.4, Godfather's Picture Book.61)
  • Oersted (The Millennium.11, The Two Brothers.12, Godfather's Picture Book.139, Great-Grandfather.23)
  • Linnaeus (The Millennium.11)
  • Socrates (The Thorny Path.4)
  • Joan of Arc (The Thorny Path.18, The Wood Nymph.9)
  • Robert Fulton (The Thorny Path.21)
  • Beethoven (The Muse of the Twentieth Century.14)
  • Mozart (The Muse of the Twentieth Century.14)
  • Raphael (the painter, not the ninja turtle) (The Ice Maiden.241; Psyche.2, 4)
  • Louis XI (Moving Day.12)
  • Socrates (The Road.43)
  • The Hanseatic League (Godfather's Picture Book.44)
  • Charlotte Corday (The Wood Nymph.9)
  • The Paris World's Fair of 1867 (The Wood Nymph)
  • Newton (Luck Can be Found in a Stick.2)

Pop Culture References

Religious/Mythological References

  • God (most tales)
  • Cupid (The Naughty Boy.9)
  • The Dalai Lama (The Magic Galoshes.109)
  • Lamias (The Wild Swans.70)
  • The Garden of Eden (The Garden of Eden, The Bird Phoenix.1, The Most Incredible.6)
  • Adam and Eve (The Garden of Eden.3, 71; The Bird Phoenix.2; The Watchman of the Tower.7; The Most Incredible.6; The Cripple.19)
  • John the Baptist (The Bronze Pig.12, 47)
  • The Virgin Mary (The Bronze Pig.12, 47, 80)
  • Jesus Christ (The Bronze Pig.12, 14, 47; The Snow Queen.20; The World's Most Beautiful Rose.14; On the Last Day.25; She Was No Good.24; The Servant.5; The Old Oak Tree's Last Dream.35; The Bog King's Daughter.79, 136; A Story from the Dunes.12; Psyche.58)
  • Christmas (The Pine Tree.15, 20, 74; Holger the Dane.3; The Little Match Girl.7; The Pixy and the Grocer.1, 17; The Old Oak Tree's Last Dream.16, 33; The Ice Maiden.220; The Songbird of the People.10; Moving Day.3; The Gardener and His Master.45; The Story Old Johanna Told.15; The Cripple.2-4)
  • The Devil (The Snow Queen.2-6; Everything In Its Right Place.11; The Philosopher's Stone.19, 31, 74; The Girl Who Stepped on Bread.18; The Watchman of the Tower.23; The Story Old Johanna Told.38)
  • Confirmation (The Red Shoes.7-11, The Janitor's Son.22)
  • Communion (The Red Shoes.13, She Was No Good.36, A Story from the Dunes.147)
  • The Lord's Prayer (The Red Shoes.18, The Story Old Johanna Told.111)
  • The Bible (The Red Shoes.41, Everything In Its Right Place.11, A Leaf from Heaven.10-12, The Uttermost Parts of the Sea.4, The Servant.19-22, The Philosopher's Stone.9, Anne Lisbeth.60, What the Whole Family Said.9)
  • Odin (The Shadow.31; The Bird Phoenix.5; The Bog King's Daughter.23, 35, 67, 79)
  • Thor (The Shadow.31; The Bog King's Daughter.23, 67, 79; The Days of the Week.8)
  • Moses (On the Last Day.23; The Bog King's Daughter.1; The Muse of the Twentieth Century.16; The Most Incredible.5, 14)
  • Mohammed (On the Last Day.21, The Bog King's Daughter.41)
  • Sodom and Gomorrah (Everything In Its Right Place.7)
  • Mount Olympus (The Millennium.9)
  • Jonah and the whale (Five Peas from the Same Pod.24)
  • The story of Joseph (A Leaf from Heaven.10)
  • Psyche (The Last Pearl.17; Psyche.8, 9, 74)
  • The Old Testament (The Servant.10, The Muse of the Twentieth Century.28)
  • King Solomon (The Philosopher's Stone.4, 9)
  • Freya (The Bog King's Daughter.23, The Days of the Week.9)
  • Balder (The Bog King's Daughter.81, 116, 135)
  • Loke/Loki (The Bog King's Daughter.107, A Story from the Dunes.70)
  • Ragnarok (The Bog King's Daughter.134, The Muse of the Twentieth Century.28)
  • Noah's Ark (What the Wind Told About Valdemar Daae and His Daughters.16)
  • Easter (What the Wind Told About Valdemar Daae and His Daughters.29, A Question of Imagination.1)
  • Judgment Day (Anne Lisbeth.42, A Story from the Dunes.110, "The Will-o'-the-Wisps Are in Town," Said the Bog Witch.72)
  • Pygmalion and Galatea ("Lovely".43, 60)
  • Jacob and Esau (The Two Brothers.5)
  • The Koran (The Dung Beetle.49)
  • Apollo (Psyche.43)
  • Jupiter (Psyche.43, The Days of the Week.8)
  • Orpheus (The Wood Nymph.67)
  • Helen of Troy (The Wood Nymph.67)
  • Mercury (The Days of the Week.6)

Folklore References

  • Elves (The Traveling Companion.23, The Rose Elf, The Hill of the Elves, How to Cook Soup Upon a Sausage Pin.11, "The Will-o'-the-Wisps Are in Town," Said the Bog Witch.40)
  • Trolls (The Traveling Companion, The Hill of the Elves)
  • Mermaids (The Little Mermaid)
  • The Sandman (The Sandman)
  • Dryads (Mother Elderberry.17, How to Cook Soup Upon a Sausage Pin.36, The Wood Nymph)
  • Will-o'-the-wisps (The Hill of the Elves)
  • Frau Holle (The Old Pepperman's Nightcap.27-29)
  • William Tell (The Ice Maiden.90, "The Will-o'-the-Wisps Are in Town," Said the Bog Witch.7, The Comet.16)
  • Pixies (The Pixy and the Grocer, The Pixy and the Gardener's Wife, Moving Day.5)
  • The Flying Dutchman (The Windmill.2)
  • Ossian (The Songbird of the People.15)
  • Aesop (The Road.43)

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