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Historian finds unknown Andersen fairy tale

COPENHAGEN — A Danish historian says he has discovered what he believes is a previously unknown fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen.

Retired historian Esben Brage said Thursday he found the six-page text in early October while searching in the National Archives through boxes that had belonged to wealthy families from Andersen’s hometown of Odense in central Denmark.

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‘‘I was ecstatic. I immediately contacted the curator to tell him about my discovery. I had never imagined this,’’ Brage said.

The handwritten tale, titled ‘‘Tallow Candle,’’ and dedicated to a vicar’s widow named Bunkeflod who had lived across from Andersen’s home, had been left seemingly untouched at the bottom of one of the boxes.

A senior curator at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense said the work is likely one of the author’s earliest.

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