The sad story of the little hunchback Henrietta Wolfe, which became the prototype of ThumbelinaBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/the-sad-story-of-the-little-hunchback-henrietta-wolfe-which-became-the-prototype-of-thumbelina
Hans Christian Andersen wrote many fairy tales, but among them very few stories with a happy ending. Especially given the female characters that the storyteller loved making miserable and often were forced to die. "Thumbelina" is one of the few works of the Dane that ended well for the main character and we want to tell you about why it happened.
At the end of 1822 a young and unknown playwright Hans Andersen came to the reception to the chief of the Sea cadet corps Admiral Peter wolf. No, an aspiring author arrived not to ask in the cadets of the naval school — he brought his new play to learn the opinion of the old sailor.
The fact that a senior naval officer had an unusual for his circle passion — he translated the works of Shakespeare and Byron, what has reached impressive heights. The opinion of Peter Wolfe appreciated in theatre circles and Andersen, 17-year-old son of a washerwoman and a shoemaker, decided to enlist his support.
Wolfe refused to take the young man and to see with his work. The play Andersen thought the old theater is very weak, but the Hans Andersen he suddenly liked it. Seeing a guy interesting person to talk to and very kind person, the Admiral invited him to dinner, and later made almost a member of his family.
In one of the luxurious palaces Amalienborg, where he settled with his family Wolfe, Anderson appeared even his room where he could appear anytime. In the family of the Admiral to the young storyteller treated very well, but especially warm relationship existed between Hans and Henriette wolf — senior officer's daughter.
The surviving portraits of the girls show us a beautiful, almost always a sad face and piercing large eyes, but they do not tell the whole truth. Henrietta was very small in stature, almost a dwarf, and besides the hunchback. Physical disabilities did not allow her to Shine in the highest light and all the time the girl spent at home, among the many books collected by his father around the world.
Hans and Henriette immediately found a common language, it can be assumed that Henrietta soon fell in love with Andersen. The storyteller is likely to treat the girl like a close friend or even sister and hardly considered the possibility of any romantic relationship.Biographers of Hans Christian Andersen's well aware that he, being ugly, awkward and poor, a lifetime to fall in love with beauties high society, who could not be with him even theoretically. Dear Henrietta, who was constantly near, was, according to the writer, "bright elf" and the Muse who inspired and were always ready to help with advice.
Artists tried to hide the physical flaws Henrietta
Long skinny Andersen and the little hunchback, the wolf looked very comical, but in spite of this, must have been happy together if a storyteller wanted to. But Hans had not even considered the option of continuing to buzz near inaccessible rock beauties.
The Henrietta was poor health that forced her in 1934 temporarily move to Italy. Sunny, warm climate of Mediterranean countries has a positive impact on the health of the woman, but she was very hard to endure separation from a dear friend.
The writer and his "elf" started to correspond and in letters to Andersen were often sent Henrietta their magical history. One of them was the fairy tale "Thumbelina", which was later included in the collection "Tales told for children."
The main character was easy to learn Henriette. She was also a very small increase and felt like a stranger in a big, not always kindly disposed towards her world. But then she flew with the birds in the far South of the country, similar to Italy, where finally found her Prince.
Unfortunately, fate prototype Thumbelina was terrible. After the recovery of Italy Henrietta with his brother Christiaan went to travel and visited America and on some Islands of the West Indies. Tropics was ruthless to the guests from the North and soon the brother of Henrietta fell ill with fever and died.
Hristana wolf buried in a foreign land, and Henriette returned to her native Denmark. For years, the woman wanted to visit the grave of his brother and decided on a long journey in 1858. The last word received from her sister, Henrietta wrote that transplanting in England on a transatlantic flight, experienced irrational fear and barely forced myself to continue.Approved by the decision helped the deceased brother, who was to her in a dream and asked me to come to him as quickly as possible. Henriette was not fated to return home — steamer "Austria" disappeared without a trace in the vastness of the ocean and only a month later it became known that the vessel caught fire and it sank. Killed 471 people, including the little hunchback.
The fire on the steamer "Austria". Painting by an unknown author. XIX century
Andersen was deeply shocked by the death of his girlfriend. Many days all dropped from his hands, and the writer couldn't think about anything else except about the horrible death of Henrietta. In his diary he described his experiences:
Death Henrietta is so shocked impressionable Andersen that it is up to the end of his days was terrified of fires and large amounts of water.