This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Saturday Rave: The Magic Tinderbox.

The Magic Tinderbox is one of Hans Christian Andersen's first stories. The critics hated it because it lacked morals.

In this they were wrong. The story is packed with morals: they're  just not ones of which the critics approve.

(I must say that on the whole my sympathies are with the critics on this point.)

Still, although the poor soldier who is the hero of the story is untrustworthy, murderous, selfish, and foolish, he does share the stage with some excellent monsters.

This story fascinated me as a child, and the thing that fascinated me most was, how did the dogs with eyes as big as tea-cups, dinner-plates, or windmills keep their eyes in? Basically, were the dogs gigantic, with normal-sized eyes for their bulk (in which case, how did they fit into the soldier's attic?) or were they of more or less normal size, but with huge eyes?

I suppose I should be much more concerned about all the innocent people the soldier destroys in his bid for money, power, and the girl; but I'm afraid it's still the eyes that worry me.

This story, called originally Fyrtøiet, was first published in 1835.

It's worth reading for the monsters, despite the dodgy morals.

Word To Use Today: tinder. This word has hardly changed for a thousand years. The Old English form was tynder, and there's a Norse word tundr and an Old High German word zuntara, which are related.

1 comment:

  1. I adore this story too and the eyes are indeed worrisome.