Translation of Hand Christian Andersen's fairy tales into Sanskrit

Toke Lindegaard Knudsen tlknudsen at GET2NET.DK
Fri Aug 17 18:55:05 UTC 2001

Dear members of Indology,

I received a letter from a Hans Christian Andersen museum here in
Denmark asking me about Sanskrit translations of his fairy tales.
They brought to my attention a citation from the 5. April 1865 entry
of Andersen's diary.  In the diary Andersen narrates that during a
concert arranged by the queen dowager he was informed by
Christian H. Kalkar that he would soon receive a Sanskrit
translation of his fairytales Calcutta.

This seems to be all the information availble.  Apparently there is
no record of Andersen ever receiving the book from Calcutta.

The museum are now seeking further information and hope to be
able to procure a copy of the Sanskrit translation for their collection.

It seems that the year 1865 is rather early date for a Sanskrit
translation of Andersen's works.  A plausible explanation could be
that someone in Calcutta mistook a collection of Sanskrit fables for
Andersen's fairy tales, perhaps because of some similarity in the
stories.  (Perhaps Andersen had even read Sanskrit fables; the
Hitopade;sa and the Pa~ncatantra were available in Europe during
his lifetime.)  The museum, however, emphasises that since
Andersen got the information from Kalkar, a respectable theologian
and scholar, we need to take it seriously.  But Kalkar was not a
Sanskritist and we do not know the source who informed him about
the translation, so it is possible that he was mistaken.

Would any of you happen to know anything about this?  Any
information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

Toke Lindegaard Knudsen

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