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Danish Traditional Tales

Danish conventional tales are realized and transmitted by conventional means. They embrace texts and genres which can be counted as a part of the broader class of Scandinavian conventional narratives, in addition to tales which can be distinctive to Denmark.


Denmark’s early literary historical past consists of Norse mythology and historical epic poetry. Asthe Viking age ebbed by 1066 C.E., the outdated sagas had been changed by Christian sacred texts. Eventually, new storytelling genres that had been derived largely from northern European traditions took maintain within the Danish in style creativeness. By the nineteenth century, Denmark had grow to be identified for the vitality of its tale-telling.

There are a number of distinctive genres of Danish conventional tales which were preserved in varied methods. The nineteenthcentury Danish historian Svend Grundtvig collected tons of of folktales. Hans Christian Andersen reworked and compiled fairy tales. And the colourful oral custom options a variety of folktales, together with a novel number of European numskull tales known as Molboer tales.

First Collection of Tales

Svend Grundtvig (1824-1883) was an vital philologist and folklorist who created the earliest scholarly assortment of Danish conventional tales. His two-volume work, Danske Folkeæaventyear, was compiled between 1876 and 1883. Grundtvig’s major space of curiosity was the examine of ballads, or narrative songs. The system that Grundtvig developed for classifying the ballads supplied the idea for Francis James Child’s catalog of the ballads of England and Scotland. Grundtvig additionally constructed the first system for categorizing folktales into sorts. His system was likewise expanded by different folklorists who created indexes for story sorts and motifs.

The tales in Grundtvig’s assortment had been primarily based on oral traditions. He assembled them utilizing his personal reminiscence mixed with the work of a community of different Danish writers. Grundtvig took a scholarly strategy to the tales as a result of he acknowledged their worth to the examine of language, tradition, and historical past. He was, nonetheless, extremely influenced by a literary bias that elevated the written text over the spoken phrase. 

Consequently, he reworked the tales in accordance to his personal creative beliefs, and the compilation doesn't essentially symbolize how these tales had been really informed. Nevertheless, his tales are glorious renditions of Danish folktales, and his work gives an vital basis for the examine of folklore.

Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) achieved worldwide fame as a compiler, performer, and author of folktales and fairy tales. The son of apoor shoemaker, Andersen was born within the slums of Odense, a metropolis on the island of North Fyn. His mom, Anne Marie Andersdatter, labored as a washerwoman and was seemingly accountable for introducing the younger Hans to conventional folktales.

The tales that readers affiliate with Andersen are rooted within the Danish tales that he heard all through his life. But Andersen was primarily a literary artist, and he reworked conventional and printed tales to meet the aesthetic sensibilities of his viewers. Stories reminiscent of “The Ugly Duckling” reflect themes present in each conventional Danish folktales and Andersen’s personal childhood experiences. Other tales, reminiscent of “The Little Mermaid,” are literary renditions impressed by European märchen, or “wonder tales.”

Although Andersen used Danish texts and genres in a lot of his work, he additionally reworked tales from different nations. “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” for instance, is a Danish folktale that's rooted in Turkish conventional tales. In addition to his lovely anthology of tales, Andersen created literary works that exemplify the creativity and creativeness that may emerge in folkloric expression.

Current Scholarship

Whereas Grundtvig and Andersen considerably reworked conventional texts to create extremely polished literary works, up to date folklorists fastidiously doc tales as they're really informed. Many of the research of Danish folklore are included in bigger collections of Scandinavian research. Traditional genres reminiscent of legends, family tales, jokes, and others represent a wealthy physique of Danish lore inside the bigger context of Scandinavian custom.
Some of the Danish folktales embrace tales of the nisses. These little sprites typically play tips on unsuspecting members of a family.

Another indigenous style is the Molboer story. Set within the Jutland neighborhood of Mols, these tales heart on a fantasy village of rural peasants. Mols is portrayed as a backward space populated by well-intentioned however naive fools. Ed Ok. Andersen, who emigrated from Denmark’s island of Falster to Audubon, Iowa, knew quite a lot of Molboer tales and informed one that's attribute of this style:

A Molboer was out engaged on his farm sooner or later. He grew to become upset as a result of he noticed a stork smashing down the grain along with his huge toes. He began chasing him out of the field, however this didn’t do any good as a result of he was tramping down the grain along with his personal huge toes. He simply didn’t know what to do.

So one in all his neighbors stated, “I’ve got a solution. What we’ll do is get this big gate, and we’ll carry him around on top of the gate so that he doesn’t smash the grain down with his big feet.”

As seen on this instance, the humor of Molboer tales is kind of refined, and could also be an acquired style. Some storytellers find themselves clarifying the joke. Andersen defined, “You see, they wound up smashing down more grain by having four farmers carry the gate.”

Other Molboer tales are extra direct andthe humor extra apparent, however typically the listener is left to figure out the silly motion by finishing the joke. A great teller of these tales continuously attracts from an unlimited repertoire and strings one Molboer story onto one other. The droll humor is attribute of this number of numskull, or noodle, story.

Molboer tales, tales of the nisse, and quite a lot of different narrative types stay vital parts of a storytelling custom that stretches again to the origins of Danish tradition.