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At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea
Grimm Märchen

At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea - Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen

Reading time for children: 7 min

A couple of large ships were sent up toward the North Pole, to discover the boundaries of land and sea and how far it would be possible for the human race to penetrate in that direction.

A year and a day had already passed, and with great difficulty they had traveled high up amid mist and ice. Now winter had set in again. The sun was gone, and one long night would last for many, many weeks. All around them was a vast, unbroken plain of ice, and ships were moored fast to the ice itself. The snow was piled high, and huts were made of it in shape of beehives, some as big as our barrows, others just large enough to give shelter for two or four men. However, it wasn’t dark, for the northern lights flashed red and blue-it was like everlasting, splendid fireworks-and the snow glittered brightly; here the night was one long, blazing twilight.

At the time when it was brightest, troops of natives came, strange-looking figures, dressed in hairy skins and dragging sleighs made from ice blocks. They brought skins in large bundles, which served as warm rugs for the snow huts and were used as beds and bed blankets, upon which the sailors could rest, while outside the cold was more intense than we ever experience even in our severest winters.

And the sailors remembered that at home it was still autumn, and they thought of the warm sunbeams and the glorious crimson and gold of the leaves still clinging to the trees. The clock showed it was evening and time for going to bed, and in one of the snow huts two sailors had already lain down to rest.

The younger of these two had with him his most treasured possession from home, the Bible that his grandmother had given him at parting. From childhood he had known what was written in it; every night it was under his pillow, and every day he read a portion; and often as he lay on his couch he remembered those words of holy comfort, „If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.“

Under the influence of those sublime words of faith, he closed his eyes. Sleep came to him, and dreams came with sleep. He dreamed that, although the body may sleep, the soul must ever be awake. He felt this life, and he seemed to hear the old well-known songs so dear to him; a gentle summer breeze seemed to breathe upon him, and a light shone down upon his couch, as though the snowy dome above had become transparent. He lifted his head and lo! the dazzling white light did not come from the walls or the ceiling. It was the light of the great wings of an angel, into whose gentle, shining face he looked.

Rising up from out of the pages of the Bible, as from the mouth of a lily blossom, the angel extended its arms way out, and the walls of the snow hut sank back as if they were a light airy veil of fog. The green meadows and hills of his home lay about him, with the red-brown woods bathed in the gentle sunshine of a beautiful autumn day. The storks‘ nest was empty now, but the apples still clung to the wild apple trees; though leaves had fallen, the red hips glistened and the blackbird whistled in the little green cage over the window of the little farmhouse-his old home. The blackbird was whistling a tune that he himself had taught him, and the old grandmother twined chickweed about the bars of the cage, just as her grandson had always done.

The pretty young daughter of the blacksmith was standing at the well, drawing water, and as she waved to the grandmother, the latter beckoned to her and showed her a letter that had come that morning from the frigid lands of the North, far, far away, from the North Pole itself, where her grandson now was-safe beneath the protecting hand of God. They laughed and they cried; and all the while that young sailor whose body slept amid the ice and snow while his spirit roamed the world of dreams, under the angel’s wings, saw and heard everything and laughed and cried with them.

Then from the letter they must read aloud these words from the Bible, „Even at the uttermost parts of the sea His right hand shall hold me fast“; and a beautiful psalm song sounded about him, and the angel folded its wings. Like a soft, protecting veil they fell close over the sleeper.

The dream was ended, and all was darkness in the snow hut; but the Bible lay beneath the sailor’s head, while faith and hope dwelt in his heart. God was with him and his home was with him, „even at the uttermost parts of the sea.“

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Backgrounds to fairy tale „At the uttermost parts of the sea“

„At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ is a lesser-known fairy tale by the famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. First published in 1863, the story is part of his extensive collection of fairy tales that he wrote throughout his career. Known for their universal appeal and themes, Andersen’s stories have been enjoyed by generations of readers around the world.

The story of „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ is set in the farthest reaches of the ocean, where a lighthouse keeper lives with his family on a small island. The tale revolves around the themes of isolation, longing, and human connection. It explores the lives of the lighthouse keeper’s family as they interact with their surroundings, the sea, and the sparse visitors they encounter.

Like many of Andersen’s fairy tales, „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ combines elements of reality and fantasy. It is partly inspired by Andersen’s own experiences and observations of Danish lighthouse keepers, who lived in isolated conditions and faced the harshness of the elements while ensuring the safety of ships. Additionally, the fairy tale draws on the tradition of maritime folklore, which is rich with tales of mysterious creatures and magical happenings at sea.

The story also reflects the Romantic literary movement that was popular in the 19th century. Romanticism emphasized the beauty of nature, the power of imagination, and the importance of emotions. „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ captures these themes by painting a vivid picture of the vast, majestic ocean and the emotional journeys of the characters who inhabit it.

In summary, „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that combines elements of reality and fantasy, drawing on maritime folklore, the author’s own experiences, and the Romantic literary movement. The story is set in the farthest reaches of the ocean and explores themes of isolation, longing, and human connection.

Interpretations to fairy tale „At the uttermost parts of the sea“

„At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ by Hans Christian Andersen offers various interpretations and layers of meaning. While the story primarily revolves around themes of isolation, longing, and human connection, it also provides insight into the human experience and relationship with nature. Here are some possible interpretations:

The power of human connection: The lighthouse keeper and his family live in isolation, which can be emotionally challenging. However, the bonds between the family members and their occasional encounters with visitors highlight the importance of human connection in overcoming the challenges of isolation.

The beauty and danger of nature: The story showcases the majesty and power of the sea, illustrating both its beauty and its potential for destruction. The lighthouse keeper’s responsibility is to help ships navigate safely, a duty that underscores humanity’s reliance on nature and the need to coexist with it respectfully.

The significance of storytelling: As the family members share stories of their experiences and encounters with magical sea creatures, the power of storytelling becomes evident. In this isolated setting, stories serve to entertain, educate, and inspire, highlighting the importance of imagination and the ability of tales to transport listeners to new worlds.

The search for meaning and purpose: The lighthouse keeper’s daughter yearns for a life beyond the confines of the island, reflecting a universal human desire for exploration and the search for a greater purpose. This longing for something more is a common theme in Andersen’s fairy tales and can be interpreted as a metaphor for the human spirit’s need for growth and self-discovery.

The interplay between reality and fantasy: Andersen masterfully weaves elements of reality and fantasy in this story, creating a world where both coexist seamlessly. This blend allows readers to interpret the tale on multiple levels, exploring themes that resonate with their own experiences while also delving into the realm of the fantastical.

Overall, „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ offers multiple interpretations, touching on themes of human connection, the power of storytelling, and humanity’s relationship with nature. Like many of Andersen’s fairy tales, it leaves room for readers to engage their imaginations and draw their own conclusions about the story’s meaning.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „At the uttermost parts of the sea“

While „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ is not one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most well-known fairy tales, it has inspired various adaptations over the years. Although specific examples are limited due to the story’s obscurity, here are a few adaptations that have been created:

Theater productions: The vivid imagery and captivating setting of „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ make it a great choice for theatrical adaptations. Some theater groups and drama schools have adapted the story into plays or musicals, using the tale’s themes of isolation, longing, and human connection as a foundation for their productions.

Short films: Independent filmmakers have occasionally turned to Andersen’s lesser-known stories for inspiration, and „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ is no exception. Short films may interpret the story visually, using the stunning backdrop of the ocean and lighthouse to create a compelling narrative that explores the story’s themes.

Art and illustration: The fairy tale’s setting and rich description have inspired artists and illustrators to create visual representations of the story. These artworks may capture the beauty and danger of the sea or depict the lighthouse keeper’s family in their isolated world.

Literature adaptations and reinterpretations: Some authors have taken inspiration from „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ to create their own stories, either adapting the tale directly or using it as a starting point for a new narrative. These reinterpretations may change the setting, characters, or plot while still exploring the original themes.

While specific examples of adaptations for „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ are scarce due to the story’s lesser-known status, the tale’s rich themes and captivating setting offer ample opportunities for creative reinterpretations in various forms.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „At the uttermost parts of the sea“

There have been several adaptations of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ in various forms of media. Here are a few notable examples:

„The Little Mermaid“ (1989) – While not a direct adaptation of „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea,“ the Disney animated film „The Little Mermaid“ is based on another of Andersen’s fairy tales and shares similar themes of exploration and adventure. The film also features a memorable song titled „Part of Your World,“ in which the main character expresses her desire to explore beyond her familiar surroundings.

„The Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ (2013) – This stage play by Don Zolidis is a direct adaptation of Andersen’s fairy tale. It was first performed by the Lakewood High School Drama Department in Ohio and has since been produced by other theater groups.

„At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ (2019) – This short film adaptation of Andersen’s fairy tale was created by the animation studio Spindle Horse Toons. It tells the story of Prince Peter’s quest to find the magical flower and features a colorful, whimsical animation style.

„The Little Prince“ (2015) – While not a direct adaptation of „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea,“ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic novella shares similar themes of adventure and self-discovery. The story follows a young prince as he travels from planet to planet and meets a variety of quirky characters, ultimately learning important life lessons along the way.

These adaptations demonstrate the enduring appeal of Andersen’s themes of adventure, exploration, and self-discovery, and how they can be reimagined and reinterpreted across different forms of media.

Summary of the plot

„At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that takes place at a remote lighthouse on a small island in the farthest reaches of the ocean. The story revolves around the lighthouse keeper and his family, who live in isolation, surrounded by the vast and powerful sea.

The lighthouse keeper lives with his wife and their three children, two sons and a daughter. They face the challenges of their isolated life together, relying on each other for companionship and support. Their days are filled with the duties of maintaining the lighthouse, tending to their small garden, and fishing for their sustenance.

Occasionally, the family receives visitors, such as sailors and fishermen, who bring news from the mainland and share stories of their adventures. These visitors provide a window into the outside world and help alleviate the monotony of the family’s isolated existence.

The lighthouse keeper’s daughter, the youngest child, is captivated by the stories of far-off lands and magical sea creatures. She longs to explore the world beyond the island and dreams of a life filled with adventure. Her imagination is fueled by the tales shared by the visitors, as well as the mysterious and enchanting creatures she encounters in the sea.

Throughout the story, the family members form deep bonds with each other and the few visitors they encounter. They learn to appreciate the beauty and power of the ocean while recognizing the importance of their duty to ensure the safety of ships navigating the treacherous waters.

The fairy tale of „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ explores themes of isolation, longing, human connection, and the beauty of the natural world. Through the experiences of the lighthouse keeper’s family, the story conveys the importance of finding meaning and purpose in one’s life, regardless of the circumstances.


Backgrounds to fairy tale „At the uttermost parts of the sea“

„At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ is a lesser-known fairy tale written by the famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen was born on April 2, 1805, in Odense, Denmark, and lived until August 4, 1875. He is widely known for his collection of fairy tales, including classics such as „The Little Mermaid,“ „The Ugly Duckling,“ and „The Emperor’s New Clothes.“ Andersen’s stories have been translated into more than 150 languages and have inspired numerous adaptations across various art forms, such as ballet, theater, and film.

Hans Christian Andersen’s tales often contain moral lessons, and „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ is no exception. In this story, Andersen explores themes of faith, hope, resilience, and the importance of maintaining connections to one’s roots. The story’s setting in the Arctic region represents the extreme and challenging circumstances that the characters must face, while the angelic dream sequence offers a spiritual perspective that transcends the physical world.

Although „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ might not be as well-known as some of Andersen’s other works, it still captures the essence of his storytelling style, which combines vivid imagination, emotional depth, and strong moral themes.

Interpretations to fairy tale „At the uttermost parts of the sea“

„At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ offers various interpretations that highlight different aspects of the human experience:

The power of faith: The young sailor’s strong faith in God is a central theme of the story. Despite being in a desolate and harsh environment, his belief in God’s protection remains unwavering. The Bible verse he quotes, „Even at the uttermost parts of the sea His right hand shall hold me fast,“ serves as a reminder that divine protection is not limited by physical boundaries.

The significance of home and family: The story emphasizes the importance of maintaining a connection with one’s home and family, even when physically separated. The dream sequence allows the young sailor to reconnect with his grandmother and the familiar surroundings of his homeland. This connection brings comfort and warmth to the sailor, despite the cold and darkness of the Arctic.

The resilience of the human spirit: The sailors‘ ability to adapt to the harsh conditions of the North Pole showcases the resilience of the human spirit. They build snow huts, accept gifts from the natives, and find solace in their memories of home. The young sailor’s dream further illustrates the power of the human spirit to transcend physical barriers and find strength in hope and faith.

The interplay between the physical and spiritual realms: The story suggests that the physical world is intertwined with the spiritual realm, as evidenced by the angel’s appearance in the young sailor’s dream. This connection implies that even in the most remote and inhospitable environments, spiritual support and guidance can be found.

Overall, „At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ presents a message of hope, faith, and resilience that transcends physical boundaries and hardships. The story reminds readers of the importance of maintaining connections with their roots and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

Summary of the plot

„At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea“ is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that follows a group of sailors on an expedition to the North Pole. The story begins with the ships arriving at the icy and treacherous Arctic region, where they build snow huts to protect themselves from the harsh winter.

During the brightest part of the long Arctic night, natives visit the sailors, bringing them skins to use as warm blankets. The sailors find comfort in these gifts and reminisce about their homes, where it is still autumn. Among them is a young sailor who holds dear a Bible given to him by his grandmother.

One night, as the young sailor drifts off to sleep with the Bible under his pillow, he experiences a vivid dream in which an angel emerges from the pages of the holy book. The angel’s wings emit a dazzling light that transforms the snow hut into a vision of the sailor’s homeland. In the dream, he sees his grandmother, the blacksmith’s daughter, and the familiar landscape of his home.

The dream also reveals a letter that the grandmother has received from her grandson, which quotes the Bible verse, „Even at the uttermost parts of the sea His right hand shall hold me fast.“ Both the young sailor and his grandmother are moved to tears by this message of hope and faith.

When the dream ends, darkness returns to the snow hut, but the sailor’s faith remains strong. The tale illustrates the power of faith and the comfort of home, even when faced with the most challenging and remote circumstances.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
TranslationsDE, EN, DA, ES
Readability Index by Björnsson40.9
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index70.7
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level10.4
Gunning Fog Index13
Coleman–Liau Index8.8
SMOG Index9.5
Automated Readability Index12
Character Count4.527
Letter Count3.543
Sentence Count30
Word Count848
Average Words per Sentence28,27
Words with more than 6 letters107
Percentage of long words12.6%
Number of Syllables1.077
Average Syllables per Word1,27
Words with three Syllables36
Percentage Words with three Syllables4.2%
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