Hans Christian Andersen (April 2, 1805–August 4, 1875) grew up in Odense, Denmark, the son of a poor shoemaker, until he ran away to Copenhagan at the age of 14 to pursue a life in the theater. Although he never succeeded on the stage, he attracted the notice of influential citizens who took him in and saw to his education. Read more about the rise of Denmark's favorite son.
Some of Andersen's most well-known stories are The Princess and the Pea, The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling and The Little Match-Seller, but he wrote more than 160 in his lifetime, including lesser-known ones like The Metal Pig, The Conceited Apple-Branch, The Beetle Who Went on His Travels and The Flea and the Professor. See a complete list of fairy tales.