Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21: The Nightingale's Healing Melody (Vol. 17, pp. 301-310)

In the context of this series, Hans Christian Andersen had only been dead 35 years, making him almost a modern. He apparently hated his fairy tales, which is where he found his fame and success, and despaired that his plays, poems and novels never reached the same status.

But it's easy to see why people today remember his fairy tales. They were clearly written and infused with common sense and sound morality. Today's tale, "The Nightingale," is a meditation on humility, creativity, the difference between art and artifice and the spirit of freedom that is necessary to create beauty. It may be disguised as a simple tale for children, a fable in the tradition of Aesop, but there is much more going on in this story than meets the eye.

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