Once upon a time there was a thirty year-old MP named Trine Bramsen who wanted her government to sponsor a week-long gay festival celebrating Hans Christian Andersen. She said it would lure queer couples to Andersen's birthplace, Funen, which she represents as a Social Democrat. Her evil opponents laughed wickedly and called her idea "silly." Denmark was the first nation in the universe to legalize same-sex unions, in 1989, the same year Disney bastardized The Little Mermaid with a singing, dancing happy ending. (Andersen's original, dark tale is said to represent his views of relationships, most or all of which were unrequited in his case.) Denmark will extend full marriage equality to gay couples in February, and Trine envisions a tourist bonanza. Topping the list of questions about the festival, who will play the lead in The Emperor's New Clothes?
Serious readers of fairy tales really ought to own these gorgeous editions from Norton: The Annotated Brothers Grimm, The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, and The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales for starters. Later, you should add The Annotated Peter Pan, The Annotated Alice, The Annotated Hunting of the Snark, and The Annotated Wind in the Willows, among many others in the stellar series.
Contemporary followers of fairy tales should consider the career-spanning new Collected Folk Tales by Alan Garner, whom Neil Gaiman called a "national treasure" in his rave review. Readers looking for more blood and vinegar in their tales might try There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya.