Anansi's story and HC Andersen's fairytale

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March 16, 2017, 04:00 PM
Sara Björk
Anansi's story and HC Andersen's fairytale
While reading the first chapters of the book, I found something curious. I admit, I haven't gone into very deep research about it, but google and searching this site have come up with no answer for this. So I wanted to share this here and maybe seek the story behind this.

I'm an expat living in Denmark, and as a part of integrating I learned Danish. One of the things I did to improve was to buy this huge collection of fairytales by H.C. Andersen. I haven't read all of them, but so far my favorite has to be Lille Claus og Store Claus - Little Claus and Big Claus.

The story follows the trickster Little Claus, who is frankly a little bit fucked up. He tricks people into giving him money and most of all he tricks Big Claus into doing stupid things. You can read the whole story here if you're interested.

The curious thing is the middle of the story, where Little Claus takes his dead grandmother to an inn, orders her a glass of mead and tricks the landlord into thinking he killed her. The man pays him for keeping quiet. Little Claus then boasts to Big Claus that he sold his grandma, and Big Claus tries to do the same.

Sounds familiar?

H.C. Andersen's story is a lot longer, but this part is almost identical to the story at the end of chapter two in Anansi Boys!

Now, I know that Neil Gaiman never claims to have written the Anansi stories, and I don't know if HC Andersen has full ownership his fairytales either. How much of the fairytales is based on folktales? Did Neil Gaiman use only African folktales as a basis for the Anansi stories or are they from everywhere? Because all stories are Anansi's stories!

I am definitely not a literature person and am not equipped to research this properly. But I'd love to know if someone made the same connection!