Riverside, Cambridge, Mass. U. S. America
I belong to the great congregation of your readers in America, and cannot remember the time when I did not read and enjoy your wonderful stories. I remember with what a half terrified, wholly fascinated sensation I used to steal to the bookshelves and get down a book that had in it your story of "The Red Shoes." I read everything of yours that I could find. What marvellous little life yon discovered in the humble objects around me! You were my Shakspeare, yon gave a voice to the very tongs of the fireplace, and yon helped me, too, to keep alive that beautiful truth of the poet Wordsworth - "Heaven lies about us in our Infancy." When I grew older, I read your stories still, and your novels and romances for older people as well. I read your The True Story of My Life and when I found the place where you said that Ole Bull told you that your Stories were read in America, I was ready to exclaim - I am one of those readers, and oh! if I could only take Andersen' s hand! As I came to the stories again, when childhood was past, I found fresh delight in them, for now they were more than childish stories to me: I found in them a pure spring of profound and subtle philosophy. They had the true genius of immortality. I studied them afresh, and filled with enthusiasm, I reviewed your little tales in one of our periodicals, The National Quarterly Review (Sepr. 1861) and then with perhaps too much boldness sent you a copy of the Review. A countryman of yours, living here, one Christian Hansen, sent me however Dagbladet of a date not very long after, containing an account of the article, and I hoped then that if you did not receive the one I sent, you at least saw what I had written.
I studied your writings also, because I myself had begun to write Märchen for children. I have published two volumes and my highest praise has been in being called "The Andersen of America," lam indeed a disciple of yours, and owe more to you than I can well tell. We in America have not such rich soil as you for fairy-tales, but we are doing our best to make a beautiful world about the hearts of our young countrymen. I have the matter very much at heart and am now engaged in establishing a new magazine for the young, which I am to conduct, and which is to be published in New York by Messrs. Hurd and Houghton, eminent Book Publishers there.
And now, am I too bold in asking whether you will not contribute from your store? All that you have published thus far has been translated and read over and over again. I fear that while your name is a household word with us, you have not received that just return from publishers which is every writer' s due. If then, you could be induced to send me short stories from time to time, written either in Danish or German, my publishers would gladly make at once a just return and I would have the stories translated and published in our magazine.
Permit me, Sir, respectfully to propose an arrangement as follows: If you will send me twelve new stories each as long as "The Kaiser's New Clothes," we will make payment to you in such way as you shall advise the sum of five hundred dollars, or half that sum for half the number of stories; But do not think that we wish to bind you to this: if the stories should be longer, so much the better.
I trust that I may have a reply from you upon this matter. Believe me, I am earnestly desirous of giving our children something new and fresh from Hans Andersen. How they would leap for joy! Permit me also, with all respect, to send you through the mail, a copy of my last little book, Dream-Children.
I remain, Honoured Sir,
with highest respect
your Disciple and obedient servant
HORACE E. SCUDDER
25 October 1866