Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Bell-Deep

The Bell-DeepThe Bell-Deep

There was once a bell that rang loud and long. It rang so much that it fell into the Au. The Au flowed along and was said to be home to the Au-Mann who lived there alone. The bell fell and rang underneath the water. The part of the water where it fell was called the bell-deep. The Au-Mann was there and the bell rang still. It talked to the Au-Mann telling him the stories it knew both long and short.

Someone else said it was impossible for a bell the ring underneath the water and that there was no such thing as the Au-Mann. There was only the air and the things it carried. The air made noises and carried them. The air knew all and told all.


This story takes place in Odense on Funen Island in Denmark, which is where Hans was born. You can go and see the house he was born in. There is a waterway there called Odense A, but as far as finding out about the Au-Mann, I came up empty. If someone happens to know any local lore of the area about the Au-mann, feel free to send a message to my inbox.


This is another one of those stories that is a story, but is really more like a piece of poetry, but not so much as others. There isn’t a whole lot happening in the story. I can’t tell you whether or not there is a legend such as the Au-Mann and whether or not a bell actually fell into the water. There is a hit of scientific progress in this story though. People had a local legend to explain something that happened in the area. Is there really a part of the water where it sounds like a bell is ringing? I have no idea, but perhaps there had been a story about it. Perhaps there had been a strange noise and people made up a reason as to why that strange noise existed. Oh, it’s just that bell that fell in the water talking to the Au-Mann. Science said that the sound of a bell was carried through the air. Sound is air vibrating.

Eventually, people had to give up their belief in the bell and the Au-Mann because science said otherwise. Air vibrating isn’t nearly as interesting as the Au-Mann and his bell, but that’s scientific progress for you.


A bell must have fallen in the water at some point and people talked about it so much that it became a legend.

Weigh In

If your town got all excited about a bell falling in the water, do you think it’s time to move to a new town?

Do you think the Au-Mann is a merman?


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