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Sunshine Stories
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Sunshine Stories - Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen

Reading time for children: 10 min

„I’ll tell you a story,“ said the wind. „Kindly remember,“ said the Rain, „that it’s my turn to talk. You’ve been howling around the corner at the top of your voice quite long enough.“ – „Is that the thanks I get for all of the favors I’ve done you?“ the Wind blustered. „Many an umbrella I’ve turned inside out, or even blown to tatters, when people tried to avoid you.“

„Be silent! It is I who shall speak,“ said the Sunshine, who spoke with such brilliance and warmth that the weary Wind fell flat on his back, and the Rain shook him and tried to rouse him, crying: „We won’t stand for it. This Madam Sunshine is forever interrupting us. Don’t lets listen to her. What she says is not worth hearing.“

And the Sunshine began: A beautiful swan flew over the rolling, tossing waves of the ocean. Each of its feathers shone like gold. One feather drifted down above a great merchant ship that sailed the sea with all its canvas spread. The feather came to rest upon the curly hair of a young overseer who looked after the goods aboard that ship – supercargo they called him.

The bird of fortune’s feather touched his forehead, became a quill pen in his hand, and brought him such luck that he soon became a merchant, a man of wealth, a man so rich that he could wear spurs of gold and change a golden dish into a nobleman’s shield. „I know – I have shone on it,“ said the Sunshine. The swan flew far away, over a green meadow where a little shepherd boy, not more than seven years old, lay in the shade of an old tree, the only tree in that meadow.

As the swan flew past it, she brushed one leaf from the tree. This leaf fell into the boy’s hands, where it turned into three leaves, ten leaves – yes, it turned into all the leaves of a book. In this book he read of the many wonderful things that are in nature, about his native language, about faith, and about knowledge. Before he went to sleep he laid the book under his pillow to keep from forgetting what he had learned during the day.

The wonderful book led him first to school, and then far into the fields of learning. I have seen his name where they carve the names of great scholars,“ the Sunshine said. „The swan flew over the forest, where it was lonely and quiet. She came to rest on a deep blue lake, where the water lilies grow, where wild apple trees flourish along the shore, and where the cuckoo and wild pigeon make their nests.

A poor woman was in the forest, gathering fallen branches. She carried them on her back, and held a baby in her arms. She saw the golden swan, that bird of fortune, rise from the rush-covered shore. What was this glittering thing the swan had left? It was a golden egg, still warm. She put it in her bosom, and the warmth stayed in it. Truly there was life in that egg. Yes, she heard a tapping inside the shell, but it was so faint that she mistook it for the sound of her own heartbeat.

When she came home to her own poor cottage, she took the egg out to look at it. „Tick“, it said, „tick,“ as if it had been a costly gold watch. But it was no watch. It was an egg, just about to hatch. The shell cracked open, and a dear little baby swan looked out. It was fully feathered, all in gold, and around its neck were four gold rings. As the poor woman had four boys – three at home and the baby she had carried in her arms – she knew that one of the rings was meant for each of her sons.

As soon as she realized this, the little golden bird flew away. She kissed all of the rings, and she made each son kiss one of them, touch it against his heart, and wear it on his finger. I saw all this,“ said the Sunshine, „and I saw what came of it. „As one of the boys played in the bed of a stream, he picked up a handful of clay. He turned it, and twisted it, and he shaped it in his fingers until he had made a statue of Jason. Like Jason, the young sculptor had found the golden fleece he sought.

The second boy ran across the meadow, where there were flowers of every hue. He gathered a handful, and squeezed them so tightly that the colored juices wet his ring and splashed in his eye. They stuck to his fingers and colored his thoughts. The days went by, and the years went past, until people in the big city came to speak of him as the great painter.

The third boy clenched his ring in his teeth so tightly that it echoed the song that lay deep in his heart. The things he thought and the things he felt were turned to music. The rose like singing swans, and like swans they plunged down as deep as the depths of the sea, „the deep Sea of Thoughts.“ He became a great musician, a great composer of whom every land has the right to say: „He belongs to me.“

„The fourth boy – the baby – was an outcast. They said he had the pip, and that like a sick little chicken he should be dosed with butter and pepper. They gave him pepper enough with his butter, but I gave him warmth and the kiss of the sun,“ said the Sunshine. „He got ten kisses for one that the other children received. He was a poet, who met with a blow and a kiss, all his life long. But he had something that no one could take from him.

He had the ring of fame from the golden swan of fortune. There were golden wings to his thoughts. Up they flew and away they went, like golden butterflies, which are the symbol of things immortal.“ – „What an extremely long story,“ said the Wind. „And so awfully dull,“ the Rain agreed. „Fan me, if you please, so I may revive a little.“ The Wind blew again, and the Sunshine said:

The swan of fortune flew over the deep gulf, where fishermen spread their nets. The poorest of the fishermen thought of getting married, and marry he did. And to him the swan brought a lump of amber. Amber has the power to draw things to it, and it drew the hearts to the fisherman’s home. Amber makes the most wonderful incense, and there came a fragrant air as from a church, like a balmy breeze from God’s nature.

So the fisherman and his bride were happy and thankful in their quiet home. They were content with what little they had, and their life became a complete sunshine story. „I think,“ said the Wind, „that these stories should stop. The Sunshine has talked long enough, and I am very bored.“ – „So am I,“ said the Rain. And what do we others who knew this story say? We say: „Now it’s out.“

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Backgrounds to fairy tale „Sunshine Stories“

„Sunshine Stories“ is a lesser-known fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Hans Christian Andersen was known for creating original fairy tales inspired by his life experiences, the people he met, and the places he visited. Andersen’s stories often dealt with themes such as the power of imagination, the beauty of nature, and the importance of love and compassion.

It is possible that „Sunshine Stories“ was inspired by Andersen’s own childhood experiences and his love for storytelling. The tale may also reflect Andersen’s fascination with the power of nature and its ability to inspire the imagination. Like many of his other works, „Sunshine Stories“ encourages readers to find wonder and magic in the world around them and to appreciate the beauty of everyday life.

Although Hans Christian Andersen wrote a wide variety of works, including novels, plays, and poems, it is his fairy tales that have gained him international recognition. Some of his most famous stories include „The Little Mermaid,“ „The Ugly Duckling,“ „The Emperor’s New Clothes,“ and „The Snow Queen.“ Andersen’s fairy tales often feature elements of fantasy and magic, and they frequently convey moral lessons or reflections on human nature.

„Sunshine Stories,“ like many of Andersen’s tales, intertwines magical elements with real-life situations, exploring themes such as the role of fortune in life, the importance of nurturing one’s talents, and the value of gratitude and contentment. While not as well-known as some of his other stories, „Sunshine Stories“ showcases Andersen’s ability to craft engaging, thought-provoking narratives that resonate with readers across generations and cultures.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Sunshine Stories“

„Sunshine Stories“ by Hans Christian Andersen can be interpreted in various ways. Some possible interpretations include:

The Power of Fortune: The golden swan represents fortune or fate, illustrating how an encounter with good fortune can significantly impact people’s lives. The story suggests that fate can bring opportunities and success to individuals who may otherwise have lived ordinary lives.

The Role of Talent and Creativity: Each of the individuals who receive gifts from the golden swan possesses inherent talent or creativity. The story highlights the importance of recognizing and nurturing these gifts, as they can lead to great achievements and fulfillment in life.

The Value of Gratitude and Contentment: The fisherman and his bride are a prime example of the importance of being grateful and content with what one has. Their simple life is transformed into a „sunshine story“ because they appreciate the amber’s gift and cherish the happiness it brings to their home.

The Interplay of Nature and Human Life: The characters in the story are influenced by natural elements such as the Wind, the Rain, and the Sunshine. These elements play a role in shaping human experiences and can bring about positive or negative outcomes. The story serves as a reminder of the interconnectedness between nature and human life.

The Unpredictability of Life: The story shows that life can be unpredictable, with good fortune sometimes appearing when least expected. It encourages readers to be open to unexpected opportunities and to recognize the potential for growth and success in seemingly ordinary or challenging circumstances.

Overall, „Sunshine Stories“ is a fairy tale that explores themes of fortune, talent, gratitude, interconnectedness, and unpredictability, offering readers a chance to reflect on their own lives and the impact of these elements on their personal journeys.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Sunshine Stories“

„Sunshine Stories“ is a lesser-known fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen, a renowned Danish author and poet. Born in 1805, Andersen is best known for his timeless and beloved fairy tales, which have been translated into over 125 languages and continue to delight readers of all ages. However, some examples of adaptations or works inspired by the fairy tale include:

Children’s books: Some illustrated children’s books have been published, retelling the story of „Sunshine Stories“ for a younger audience. These books may include updated language, artwork, and designs to make the story more accessible and engaging for contemporary readers.

Audio recordings: Various audio versions of „Sunshine Stories“ can be found, either as standalone recordings or as part of collections of Andersen’s works. These recordings may feature voice actors, sound effects, and music to bring the story to life for listeners.

Storytelling events: „Sunshine Stories“ may occasionally be performed at storytelling events, either for children or for a general audience. Storytellers might reinterpret the tale, adding their own creative flair, to engage their listeners and bring Andersen’s imaginative world to life.

Hans Christian Andersen’s „Sunshine Stories“ have been adapted into various forms over the years, including film, television, and theater productions. Though „Sunshine Stories“ has not been adapted into as many forms as some of Andersen’s other works, its themes of imagination, storytelling, and the beauty of nature continue to resonate with readers and audiences, inspiring new generations to explore the power of fairy tales. These adaptations showcase the timeless appeal and enduring relevance of Andersen’s stories, as well as their ability to inspire and captivate audiences across different mediums and cultures.

Summary of the plot

„Sunshine Stories“ by Hans Christian Andersen is a fairy tale about the power of fortune and how it influences the lives of various individuals. The story starts with a conversation between the Wind, the Rain, and the Sunshine. The Sunshine decides to tell a story of a golden swan that brings fortune to those it encounters. The golden swan first encounters a young overseer on a merchant ship, and one of its golden feathers transforms into a quill pen. This brings him wealth and success, eventually turning him into a rich merchant.

Next, the swan encounters a shepherd boy and drops a leaf that turns into a book in his hands. This book teaches him about nature, language, faith, and knowledge, ultimately leading him to become a great scholar whose name is carved alongside other notable scholars. The swan then leaves a golden egg near a poor woman gathering wood in the forest. The egg hatches into a baby swan, adorned with four gold rings meant for the woman’s four sons. Each son’s life is transformed by the ring they receive.

One becomes a talented sculptor, another a great painter, the third a renowned musician, and the fourth a famous poet. The golden swan’s gift brings fame and fortune to each of these individuals. Lastly, the swan bestows a lump of amber upon a poor fisherman who is about to get married. The amber brings happiness, contentment, and a fragrant air to the couple’s home, making their life a „sunshine story.“ Despite the Wind and the Rain finding the Sunshine’s story long and dull, it highlights the power of fortune and its ability to transform lives, resulting in a tale of hope, success, and happiness.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
TranslationsDE, EN, DA, ES, FR
Readability Index by Björnsson24.6
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index88
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level4.7
Gunning Fog Index7.1
Coleman–Liau Index7.6
SMOG Index6.8
Automated Readability Index4.9
Character Count6.332
Letter Count4.816
Sentence Count80
Word Count1.213
Average Words per Sentence15,16
Words with more than 6 letters114
Percentage of long words9.4%
Number of Syllables1.483
Average Syllables per Word1,22
Words with three Syllables31
Percentage Words with three Syllables2.6%
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