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The Loveliest Rose in the World
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The Loveliest Rose in the World - Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen

Reading time for children: 6 min

There lived once a great queen, in whose garden were found at all seasons the most splendid flowers, and from every land in the world. She specially loved roses, and therefore she possessed the most beautiful varieties of this flower, from the wild hedge-rose, with its apple-scented leaves, to the splendid Provence rose. They grew near the shelter of the walls, wound themselves round columns and window-frames, crept along passages and over the ceilings of the halls. They were of every fragrance and color.

But care and sorrow dwelt within these halls. The queen lay upon a sick bed, and the doctors declared that she must die. „There is still one thing that could save her,“ said one of the wisest among them. „Bring her the loveliest rose in the world. One which exhibits the purest and brightest love, and if it is brought to her before her eyes close, she will not die.“

Then from all parts came those who brought roses that bloomed in every garden, but they were not the right sort. The flower must be one from the garden of love; but which of the roses there showed forth the highest and purest love? The poets sang of this rose, the loveliest in the world, and each named one which he considered worthy of that title; and intelligence of what was required was sent far and wide to every heart that beat with love; to every class, age, and condition.

„No one has yet named the flower,“ said the wise man. „No one has pointed out the spot where it blooms in all its splendor. It is not a rose from the coffin of Romeo and Juliet, or from the grave of Walburg, though these roses will live in everlasting song. It is not one of the roses which sprouted forth from the blood-stained fame of Winkelreid. The blood which flows from the breast of a hero who dies for his country is sacred, and his memory is sweet, and no rose can be redder than the blood which flows from his veins. Neither is it the magic flower of Science, to obtain which wondrous flower a man devotes many an hour of his fresh young life in sleepless nights, in a lonely chamber.“

„I know where it blooms,“ said a happy mother, who came with her lovely child to the bedside of the queen. „I know where the loveliest rose in the world is. It is seen on the blooming cheeks of my sweet child, when it expresses the pure and holy love of infancy. When refreshed by sleep it opens its eyes, and smiles upon me with childlike affection.“

„This is a lovely rose,“ said the wise man. „But there is one still more lovely.“

„Yes, one far more lovely,“ said one of the women. „I have seen it, and a loftier and purer rose does not bloom. But it was white, like the leaves of a blush-rose. I saw it on the cheeks of the queen. She had taken off her golden crown, and through the long, dreary night, she carried her sick child in her arms. She wept over it, kissed it, and prayed for it as only a mother can pray in that hour of her anguish.“

„Holy and wonderful in its might is the white rose of grief, but it is not the one we seek.“

„No. The loveliest rose in the world I saw at the Lord’s table,“ said the good old bishop. „I saw it shine as if an angel’s face had appeared. A young maiden knelt at the altar, and renewed the vows made at her baptism; and there were white roses and red roses on the blushing cheeks of that young girl. She looked up to heaven with all the purity and love of her young spirit, in all the expression of the highest and purest love.“

„May she be blessed!“ said the wise man: „but no one has yet named the loveliest rose in the world.“

Then there came into the room a child– the queen’s little son. Tears stood in his eyes, and glistened on his cheeks. He carried a great book and the binding was of velvet, with silver clasps. „Mother,“ cried the little boy; „only hear what I have read.“ And the child seated himself by the bedside, and read from the book of Him who suffered death on the cross to save all men, even who are yet unborn. He read, „Greater love hath no man than this,“ and as he read a roseate hue spread over the cheeks of the queen, and her eyes became so enlightened and clear, that she saw from the leaves of the book a lovely rose spring forth, a type of Him who shed His blood on the cross.

„I see it,“ she said. „He who beholds this, the loveliest rose on earth, shall never die.“

Backgrounds to fairy tale „The loveliest rose in the world“

„The Loveliest Rose in the World“ is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that was first published in 1848. This story revolves around the themes of love, sacrifice, and the true meaning of beauty.

The tale is set in a time when a queen lies gravely ill, and the only thing that can save her is the loveliest rose in the world. The king proclaims that whoever brings the loveliest rose to the queen will be rewarded with gold and honor. People from all over the kingdom bring roses to the palace, hoping that their rose will be the one to save the queen.

A young boy, who has lost his father in the war and is living with his sick mother, overhears the king’s proclamation. He decides to go on a quest to find the loveliest rose to save the queen and bring honor to his family. The boy searches high and low, but none of the roses he finds seem to be the loveliest in the world.

Finally, the boy returns home, disheartened, and tells his mother about his failed quest. His mother comforts him and tells him that the loveliest rose is not found in the garden, but in the hearts of those who love. She tells him that the sacrifice of his love and the love of the people for the queen is the loveliest rose in the world. The boy rushes to the palace, and his words and the love they represent are enough to save the queen’s life.

This story is believed to have been inspired by Andersen’s own experiences of loss and love. The tale teaches readers about the importance of love, selflessness, and the true essence of beauty, which is not found in outward appearances but in the depths of one’s heart.

Interpretations to fairy tale „The loveliest rose in the world“

„The Loveliest Rose in the World“ is a fairy tale rich in symbolism and deeper meanings. Some key interpretations of this story are:

The power of love: One central theme in the story is the power of love to heal and transform. The queen’s recovery is not due to a physical rose but the love and sacrifice expressed by the boy and the people of the kingdom. This theme emphasizes the idea that love is a force that can overcome obstacles and bring about positive change.

Inner beauty: The story contrasts the outward appearance of roses with the inner beauty of love and selflessness. It suggests that true beauty lies not in physical attributes but in the goodness of one’s heart. This theme encourages readers to look beyond superficial appearances and value inner qualities.

The importance of self-sacrifice: The boy’s quest to find the loveliest rose in the world demonstrates his selflessness and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. The tale teaches that self-sacrifice and putting others before oneself can lead to meaningful rewards and positive outcomes.

The search for meaning: The boy’s journey to find the loveliest rose is a metaphor for the human search for meaning and purpose. The story suggests that this search can often lead to unexpected discoveries about oneself and the world. In the end, the boy learns that the loveliest rose is not a tangible object but an intangible quality rooted in love.

Hope and perseverance: Throughout the story, the boy maintains hope and determination, even when his quest seems impossible. His perseverance is ultimately rewarded when he discovers the true meaning of the loveliest rose. This theme encourages readers to remain hopeful and persistent in the face of challenges and adversity.

In summary, „The Loveliest Rose in the World“ is a tale that offers valuable lessons about love, inner beauty, self-sacrifice, the search for meaning, and the importance of hope and perseverance.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „The loveliest rose in the world“

Though „The Loveliest Rose in the World“ might not be one of the most well-known or frequently adapted Hans Christian Andersen stories, there are a few adaptations that have brought this tale to life in different formats:

Theater productions: Some theater companies have adapted this story into plays or musicals for the stage. For example, the story has been included in various Andersen-themed theatrical performances that showcase several of his tales.

Illustrated books: Illustrated editions of Andersen’s fairy tales often include „The Loveliest Rose in the World.“ The story’s vivid imagery and symbolism lend themselves well to visual interpretation, allowing illustrators to bring the narrative to life through their art.

Story collections: This fairy tale is often found in collections of Andersen’s works, as well as in anthologies of fairy tales from around the world. Such collections allow readers to explore the story alongside other classics, gaining a broader understanding of Andersen’s work and the themes he explores.

Radio and podcasts: Some radio shows and podcasts have produced audio adaptations of „The Loveliest Rose in the World,“ which can introduce the story to new audiences and provide a fresh perspective on the tale. Audio adaptations offer a unique way to experience the story, often featuring voice actors, music, and sound effects to enhance the narrative.

Animated shorts: While there might not be any full-length animated adaptations specifically dedicated to „The Loveliest Rose in the World,“ it is possible to find animated shorts or segments in various Andersen-themed animation compilations.

Though „The Loveliest Rose in the World“ has not received the same level of attention as some of Andersen’s more famous tales, it remains a rich and meaningful story that has been adapted in various ways to share its valuable messages with audiences of all ages.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „The loveliest rose in the world“

„The Loveliest Rose in the World“ by Hans Christian Andersen has been adapted into various forms of media over the years. Here are some notable adaptations:

Theater: The story has been adapted into stage plays, including a musical adaptation by composer Nicolai Abildgaard.

Opera: In 1992, composer John Metcalf and librettist Heather Spears adapted the story into an opera called „The Loveliest Rose in the World.“

Television: The story has been adapted into animated television specials, including a 1974 adaptation by Rankin/Bass Productions.

Literature: The story has been retold in various forms of literature, including a children’s book adaptation by Danish author Joan D. Vinge.

Film: In 2011, the story was adapted into a short film by director Matthew L. Schaffer.

Art: The story has been illustrated by numerous artists, including Edmund Dulac, who created a series of beautiful illustrations for the story in 1911.

Overall, „The Loveliest Rose in the World“ has inspired many artists and creators to adapt the story into different forms of media. These adaptations have helped to keep the story alive and popular among audiences of all ages.

Summary of the plot

„The Loveliest Rose in the World“ is a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale that tells the story of a queen on her deathbed. The king, desperate to save her, learns of a legend that says the loveliest rose in the world can cure her illness.

The story goes that the loveliest rose carries the power of eternal life and can be found in the garden of a wise old woman. This rose is so special that it reflects the highest and purest qualities of those who touch it. The king sets off on a journey to find this magical rose, hoping it will save his beloved queen.

In the old woman’s garden, the king finds three roses – a red one, symbolizing martyrdom; a white one, representing innocence; and a pale pink one, embodying love. The king is unsure which rose is the loveliest, so he asks the wise woman for guidance.

The woman tells the king that the loveliest rose is not in her garden but is hidden in his own kingdom. She explains that it can only be found by someone who genuinely loves the queen and has a pure heart.

The king returns to his kingdom, searching everywhere for the loveliest rose. In the end, he finds it in the heart of a poor girl who loves the queen deeply and prays for her recovery. The girl had offered her prayers and tears to a rose, turning it into the loveliest rose in the world.

The king takes the rose to the queen, and the magical powers of the rose restore her to health. The story concludes with the lesson that the most beautiful things in life come from love, selflessness, and purity of heart.


Backgrounds to fairy tale „The loveliest rose in the world“

„The Loveliest Rose in the World“ is a fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Born in 1805 in Odense, Denmark, Andersen was a prolific writer and poet, best known for his fairy tales. His stories have been translated into many languages and have become a significant part of children’s literature worldwide.

Andersen’s fairy tales often contain moral lessons, exploring themes such as love, sacrifice, and human nature. While many of his stories have happy endings, some also explore darker themes and have more somber conclusions. His writing style is characterized by a combination of realism, fantasy, and lyrical prose.

Some of his most famous works include „The Little Mermaid,“ „The Ugly Duckling,“ „The Emperor’s New Clothes,“ and „The Snow Queen.“ Andersen’s stories have inspired numerous adaptations, such as ballets, plays, animated films, and live-action movies.

„The Loveliest Rose in the World“ is one of Andersen’s lesser-known tales, but it shares many of the characteristics of his more famous works. It explores themes of love, faith, and the power of storytelling, while incorporating elements of fantasy and the search for truth. The story showcases Andersen’s ability to convey meaningful messages through engaging and imaginative narratives.

Interpretations to fairy tale „The loveliest rose in the world“

„The Loveliest Rose in the World“ by Hans Christian Andersen presents several interpretations and themes that can be derived from the story:

The power of love: The story emphasizes the importance of love, particularly its ability to heal and uplift. The loveliest rose symbolizes the purest and brightest form of love, which has the power to save the queen from death. The tale demonstrates that love comes in various forms, such as a mother’s love for her child, the grief experienced by the queen, and the love and devotion of a young maiden.

Spiritual love and salvation: The loveliest rose is ultimately revealed as the love of Jesus, who sacrificed his life on the cross for humanity. This spiritual love transcends earthly love and offers salvation and eternal life to those who embrace it. The story suggests that spiritual love is the highest and purest form of love, and that faith can bring hope and healing even in the darkest moments.

The search for meaning and truth: Throughout the story, characters present their interpretations of the loveliest rose, revealing their values and experiences. The search for the loveliest rose becomes a quest for understanding the true meaning of love and its power. Each person’s perspective contributes to a broader understanding of love, culminating in the revelation of spiritual love as the ultimate expression of devotion and sacrifice.

The transformative power of stories: The queen’s son reads a passage from a book about Jesus‘ sacrifice, and this act of storytelling leads to the queen’s recovery. The story highlights the power of stories to inspire, enlighten, and transform people’s lives, as well as their ability to convey important lessons and values.

Summary of the plot

„The Loveliest Rose in the World“ by Hans Christian Andersen tells the story of a great queen who adores roses and has a garden filled with the most beautiful varieties. The queen falls gravely ill, and the doctors announce that only the loveliest rose in the world, symbolizing the purest and brightest love, can save her.

People from all over bring roses from their gardens, but none are the right one. The loveliest rose must come from the garden of love. Poets sing about it, and many claim to know the location of the flower, but none are correct. The wise man clarifies that it isn’t the rose of any famous love story, a hero’s sacrifice, or the flower of science.

A mother believes the loveliest rose is the love on her child’s cheeks, but the wise man says there’s an even lovelier rose. A woman shares her encounter with the queen’s white rose of grief, but it is still not the one they seek. A bishop speaks of the rose he saw on a young maiden’s cheeks as she prayed, but that too is not the loveliest rose.

The queen’s son enters the room, carrying a book about Jesus‘ sacrifice on the cross. As he reads about the greatest love, a roseate hue spreads over the queen’s cheeks, and she sees a lovely rose spring from the book’s pages, symbolizing the love of Jesus. The queen declares that whoever beholds this loveliest rose on earth shall never die.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
Translations DE, EN, DA, ES, NL,
Readability Index by Björnsson27.4
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index82.6
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level6.2
Gunning Fog Index8.7
Coleman–Liau Index7.9
SMOG Index8.2
Automated Readability Index6.5
Character Count4.339
Letter Count3.326
Sentence Count46
Word Count826
Average Words per Sentence17,96
Words with more than 6 letters78
Percentage of long words9.4%
Number of Syllables1.035
Average Syllables per Word1,25
Words with three Syllables35
Percentage Words with three Syllables4.2%

Image sources: © Andrea Danti / Shutterstock

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