Woodcut print of Jørgen Engebretsen Moe made by Adolf Closs, Stuttgart after a photo by Fr. Klem, Christiania (Oslo). Originally published in Norska folksagor och huldre-sägner by P. Chr. Asbjørnsen, in 1881.
Authors Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe were Norwegian folklorists. The pair became famous for their contribution to Norway’s culture with their collection of fairy tales. Both men had began collecting tales separately out of personal interest, and decided to combine their individual collections into volumes. Asbjørnsen was working as a private tutor and during the course of his employment, collected tales, while Moe was also a tutor, collecting tales while on holiday. The result was Norske folkeeventyr.
Woodcut print of Peter Christen Asbjørnsen. Originally published in Svenska Familj-Journalen. Date and artist unknown.
Upon its publication, Norske folkeeventyr, heralded a significant literary event for Norway. The country had its own folklorists proudly cataloging the heritage of fjords, glaciers, and all the mysteries of Norway. The two were following in the footsteps of German folklorists The Brothers Grimm, and were just as famous as the German duo in Norway. Editions of the title date back to 1841-1844, and one edition, known as East of the Sun and West of the Moon, featured wonderful color illustrations by Kay Nielsen. Asbjørnsen and Moe received a lot of acclaim for their ability to adapt the original Norwegian tales into simple English. Thanks to their stylistic choice, the tales of Norway were more relatable and available to the rest of Europe.