“Little Claus and Big Claus” (1835)
Hans Christian Andersen (writer).
Read in 2020.
Poorly received by its initial reviewers, for its grotesquerie and ambiguous moral. To me it seems a strong example of Andersen’s art: Flat characters, trickery, fantasies, absurdities and reversals of fortune, with an intelligent foundation. Big Claus, the richer man who likes to hear a psalm, is obviously the villain. Indeed, other people actually perceive him as insane, which makes sense both for genre narrative purposes and for believability.