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The Flying Trunk
Flying Trunk 01.jpg
Vilhelm Pedersen illustration
Author Hans Christian Andersen
Original title Den flyvende Kuffert
Country Denmark
Language Danish
Genre Literary fairy tale
Publisher C.A. Reitzel
Publication date
19 October 1839
Media type Print

"The Flying Trunk" (Danish: Den flyvende Kuffert) is a literary fairy tale by the Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen about a young man who has a flying trunk that carries him to Turkey where he visits the Sultan's daughter. The tale was first published 1839.

Plot summary

A young man squanders his inheritance until he has nothing left but a few shillings, a pair of slippers, and an old dressing-gown. A friend sends him a trunk with directions to pack up and be off. Having nothing to pack, he gets into the trunk himself. The trunk is enchanted and carries him to the land of the Turks. He uses the trunk to visit the sultan's daughter, who is kept in a tower because of a prophecy that her marriage would be unhappy.

He persuades her to marry him. When her father and mother visit her tower, he tells them a story. They are impressed and consent to the marriage. To celebrate his upcoming marriage, the young man buys fireworks and flies over the land setting them off. Returning to the earth, a spark incinerates the trunk, and the young man can no longer visit the princess in the tower. Instead, he wanders the world, telling stories.


The tale was first published in Copenhagen by C.A. Reitzel 19 October 1839 as part of Fairy Tales Told for Children. New Collection. Second Booklet (Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. Ny Samling. Andet Hefte). "The Flying Trunk" was the second tale in the booklet with "The Garden of Paradise" ("Paradisets have") being the first, and "The Storks" ("Storkene") being the third and last. "The Flying Trunk" was republished 18 December 1849 as a part of Fairy Tales. 1850. (Eventyr. 1850.), and again 15 December 1862 as a part of Fairy Tales and Stories. First Volume. 1862. (Eventyr og Historier. Første Bind. 1862.).



Animated shorts

  • Lotte Reiniger made an animated silhouette film based on the tale in 1921.

Theme Park

  • In 1993, Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens created an amusement ride based on "The Flying Trunk". The ride depicts 32 scenes from the fairy tales of Andersen.


  • In 2014, a musical theatre adaptation of "The Flying Trunk" by Bobby Sample (book, lyrics, and music), with music by Josh Hontz, Katie Sample, and Connor Sample, debuted at Spotlight Youth Theatre of Glendale, Arizona. This adaptation won the 2014 National Youth Arts Award for Outstanding New Musical.
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