While you wait: Read a fairy tale
We have digitised one of the many fairy tales that elementary school teacher and folklore collector, Evald Tang Kristensen, collected. For the audience of the time, the fairy tale was about Southern Jutland's reunion with Denmark.
Long before Southern Jutland was reunited with Denmark in 1920, a fairy tale was told which showed how strongly many hoped that the lost territories could return to Denmark.
Archivist Lene Vinther Andersen talks about the fairy tale:
”In 1894, the folklore collector, Evald Tang Kristensen, wrote down the fairy tale, which was about a young, beautiful princess who traveled from North Jutland down to Southern Jutland and built a magnificent castle. A prince from Germany proposed to her. She did not want him, so he threw a snake at her: she was to lie dead until someone came and spoke to her in her mother tongue. The castle sank into the ground, and the weeds grew like a rampart over it.
Time passed, but then a young, poor man from North Jutland heard about the princess and set off to save her. When he came to her, he said in his mother tongue: “How pale you look. If only someone could save you.” Immediately the princess woke up, and the fairy tale ended with them getting married and traveling home to the princess' father and inheriting the kingdom.
Evald Tang Kristensen's fairy tale is a variant of the story of Sleeping Beauty, which is known from Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm among others, but this variant of the fairy tale has a local, historical significance that would not have been difficult to understand for the audience at the time. The German suitor is not the right one for the princess, and the German's thirst for revenge puts the area to sleep. The death-like condition of the princess may symbolize the lands that were lost. The language dispute and the experience of cultural oppression are embedded in the fairy tale, because the princess is saved when Danish is spoken again in Southern Jutland. The fairy tale's solution to the conflict is that the princess is rescued by a man from North Jutland, essentially a reunion of the two parts of the country.
Under the guise of the fictional form of fairy tales, it is possible to talk about situations that might otherwise be difficult to put into words. However, it is unusual for political and national conflicts to appear in fairy tales. We do not know how widespread this nationally framed Sleeping Beauty fairy tale has been or what the reactions might have been. But one must imagine that the audience has bolstered itself in the hope that Southern Jutland could "return home" to Denmark."
Fairy tales written by Evald Tang Kristensen
Read one of the many fairy tales that elementary school teacher and folklore collector Evald Tang Kristensen collected. For the audience of the time, the fairy tale was about Southern Jutland's reunion with Denmark. Original handwritten manuscript.