Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Godfather’s Picture Book

Godfather's Picture BookGodfather’s Picture Book

Godfather liked to make picture books. He would clip pictures from here and there and paste them into blank books. Sometimes if he didn’t have the pictures, he would draw them himself. One book was particularly important. It was about the time that the lamps were switched to gas. Grandfather remembered it. He stood next to the old lamps and listened to them talk, from there, he got the idea to write a picture book about Denmark’s past.

The parents said not to muss the book up, but godfather didn’t care. He encouraged children to look at it. The book started out with large pieces of stone being brought down from the mountains. They fell into the water near a sandbar, but they would be recovered said godfather.

The seas were ripe with fish and, as a result, people settled along the shores. The sandbar became an island which grew grass and plants. Then someone built a building there. The city grew. The island became a city. Kings were rulers over the land one after the other. Many were brave. Some of the women were very brave. They would stay and defend the territory. Some women even poured boiling tar down over the walls.

The city had seen defeat at the hands of foreign armies. It had seen all manner of foreign trades come in. All manner of rulers had come to be over the city. The stones that sank where yet again brought up, they were marble and Thorwaldsen turned them into masterpieces. Then the lights were switched to gas.


I don’t have the time to fact-check Hans, but if I had to guess, most of these events would be true. This is a story about history. It’s the history of Denmark. Honestly, it’s probably more precisely a history of a certain area of Denmark. It’s very interesting to read, although this story is long. Hans took basically the entire history of the area and condensed it into one story. It’s a lot to take in. This is probably not something a child would be interested in, unless it really was a picture book.

It amazes me how much Hans knew about his country’s history. I mean, I know quite a bit about the history of the United States, but nowhere near as much as Hans seems to know about his country. Part of this is because of size difference. The US is much larger than Denmark and, therefore, more difficult to keep up with history wise. While Denmark is a fairly small country where there may have been one big thing people were talking about across the country, the US is big and there may have been five big things people were talking about at the same time. Part of this is because Denmark is older than the US. They have recorded their history for much longer than the US has recorded its history. Before the US existed, there wasn’t really much history recorded about the land.

All in all, Hans seems like a walking, well not anymore, encyclopedia of Denmark.


There is no one theme in this story. It’s a piece about history. The main thing that sticks out is that the godfather wanted his godchildren to remember the history of their land. He saw that times were changing and he wanted to preserve what he knew for them. There are many people who counsel that we should keep journals to pass down to our descendants so they know what was going on when we were alive and how we felt about it. It’s not always easy to write every day about yourself. Let’s be honest, most of us are pretty boring. Our entries would mainly consist of, “Went to work today,” and, “had to go buy gas.”

Hans did the very thing the godfather in his story was trying to do. Hans put down the history of his land, for the posterity of his country. It’s not overly boring so people would be interested to read it. Therefore, history is not forgotten as long as people read Hans’ story.

In addition, this is also a nationalistic piece. It’s a piece of literature celebrating Hans’ home land. If you wrote a very patriotic poem about your country, that too would be considered nationalism.


I’m learning a lot about Denmark.

Weigh In

Could you write a story like this about your country?

Is it our duty to know about our country’s history?


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