"The text is not at the level of the more mature fairy tales that we know from Andersen's later writing," Askgaard said. But "we see traces of Andersen's history in the text, the language and the themes in the manuscript ... it all fits with him, it all bears his fingerprint."
The Danish language "Doedningen" from 1830 had long been considered Andersen's first fairy tale. That story was later re-written and published again in 1835 as "The Traveling Companion" — a grim tale about death.
Andersen was born in 1805 in Odense, 105 miles (170 kilometers) west of Copenhagen, to a cleaning lady and a shoemaker. While famed for his many fairy tales, he also wrote dozens of novels, poems and travel journals. His works have been widely translated. He died in 1875.