Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Vaeno and Glaeno

Vaeno and GlaenoVaeno and Glaeno

Off the coast of Zealand there used to be two islands calls Vaeno and Glaeno. Both were wooded islands that had villages and churches and so forth. There was also a castle nearby to both islands. One day there was a terrible storm. During the terrible storm Vaeno disappeared. On some days, fisherman could still see Vaeno beneath the water. They would say that Vaeno was going to take Glaeno.

People would pray for Glaeno, that it not be taken by Vaeno, but eventually Glaeno was taken, but not by Vaeno. There was a dam built that kept the sea water out. New meadows were formed where there had once been water. Glaeno was no longer an island, but part of the main land. Glaeno had been taken by Zealand and by the people.

Observations

There really is a Glaeno island in Denmark, but that’s about all I can find. I think there are some farms there and a town, but that’s about all I could find. I couldn’t find anything about any large works projects on the island of Glaeno, but looking at from the map, it’s obvious something has been done on the barrier of the island. Islands don’t just go around interconnecting like that. At some point, Glaeno appears to have been subject to some major earth-moving projects, but I don’t have any information on top of that. It also appears not to be so attached to the mainland. It looks like it’s just a bridge. Maybe it was more attached at one point?

As far as Vaeno, I can find no record of Vaeno or an island than sank nearby to Glaeno. The Google Earth images also don’t appear to show anything that looks like a landmass underneath the water near Glaeno. So either Hans made it up, or someone else made it up, or there just isn’t enough evidence to state otherwise.

Themes

This story is about the old and the new. The old was that Glaeno would be taken by some other island, whether real or fake, to its demise. The new was that Glaeno did in fact lose its island status, somewhat, by progress. Modern building and engineering caused Glaeno to be more connected that it had ever been. Who wants to hop in a boat when you can walk across?

We do change the land around us, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but progress moves on. Glaeno went from being a somewhat small island where people had to travel by boat to an island that you can drive to, with a car. This has undoubtedly opened up Glaeno to more commerce, more trading, and more people.

In another sense of looking at this story, Hans was saying that sometimes folkloric prophesies are fulfilled, but in completely different ways than we expected. Maybe someone is going to Hell, but not in a hand basket.

Overall

I seriously want to know of Vaeno was a real place.

Weigh In

Do you think the people felt the prophesy of Glaeno being taken was satisfied?

Do you think Vaeno is a real place?

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