Hans Christian Andersen (2 April 1805 - 4 August 1875) was a Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children; his stories, called eventyr in Danish, or "fairy-tales" in English, express themes that transcend age and nationality. Andersen's fairy tales, which have been translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the West's collective consciousness, readily accessible to children, but presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity for mature readers as well. Some of his most famous fairy tales include "The Little Mermaid," "The Snow Queen," "The Ugly Duckling," "The Nightingale," "The Emperor's New Clothes" and many more. His stories have inspired plays, ballets, and both live-action and animated films. Hans Christian Andersen was born in the town of Odense, Denmark, on Tuesday, 2 April 1805. He was an only child. Andersen's father, also Hans, considered himself related to nobility. His paternal grandmother had told his father that their family had in the past belonged to a higher social class, but investigations prove these stories unfounded. Theories that Andersen may have been an illegitimate son of King Christian VIII persist. Andersen's father, who had received an elementary education, introduced Andersen to literature, reading him Arabian Nights. Andersen's mother, Anne Marie Andersdatter, was uneducated and worked as a washerwoman following his father's death in 1816, remarrying in 1818. Andersen was sent to a local school for poor children where he received a basic education and was forced to support himself, working as a weaver's apprentice and, later, for a tailor. At 14, he moved to Copenhagen to seek employment as an actor. Having an excellent soprano voice, he was accepted into the Royal Danish Theatre, but his voice soon changed. A colleague at the theatre told him that he considered Andersen a poet. Taking the suggestion seriously, Andersen began to focus on writing. Andersen's childhood home in Odense Jonas Collin, director of the Royal Danish Theatre, felt a great affection for him, and sent him to a grammar school in Slagelse, persuading King Frederick VI to pay part of his education. Andersen had already published his first story, The Ghost at Palnatoke's Grave, in 1822. Though not a keen student, he also attended school at Elsinore until 1827.