H. C. Andersen is valued as the best fairy tale writer of all times. Originality is definitely the major reason for such a title. But we'll see he often only rewrote already existing stories. So where is the secret of his success?
Andersen's fairy tales are still very popular even a century and a half after his death. There are several reasons for that. Andersen used simple everyday language which really never fell out of fashion.
He also included a lot of emotions, what was a novelty in the field of fairy tales, primarily considered as educational tales for children.
Humor is another of his trademarks. Sometimes it can be pretty dark and sarcastic, but still.
Writing on several layers (at least one for kids and at least one for adults who wrote them, as he explained) counts too.
Yet originality of the plots is clearly not on this list of H. C. Andersen's attributes. As will see, he often used stories written by others, old fables and tales with unknown authorship, or other material, just to have a solid backbone for his 'original' work.
This is especially true for his earlier fairy tales which himself described as much better than later work, the fairy tales which were written when he was already famous.
If you are ready to peek in the backstage of some of the finest Andersen's creations, let's start a list of 10 not so original fairy tales by H. C. Andersen: