Summary of The Garden of Paradise by Hans Christian Andersen

Instructor: Erica Schimmel

Erica has taught college English writing and literature courses and has a master's degree in children's literature.

Like so many, the Prince in Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Garden of Paradise' longs to find the utopia of Eden. Find out what he does when he reaches the Garden in this summary of Andersen's story.

Searching For the Garden

You've probably heard of the Garden of Paradise, also sometimes known as the Garden of Eden. This is the same perfect garden from which Adam and Eve were banished, and no human has found despite the many who have tried. This search for the garden is a pretty frequent theme in literature, including in Hans Christian Andersen's ''The Garden of Paradise.''

In this story, the Prince has spent his life dreaming of the garden. Is it really like his grandmother told him, filled with flowers made of cake and wine, and each cake is a lesson you can learn by eating it? What a way to learn history or math! Even when he reaches the age of 17, he is still a bit obsessed with the Garden. He is certain he never would have sinned and eaten the ''forbidden fruit'' the way Adam and Eve did. Let's find out more as we summarize the rest of this story.

Stumbling Upon the Winds

One of the Prince's favorite pastimes is walking alone in the woods. He is doing exactly this one day when night falls and with it comes a bad rainstorm. Finally, soaked, he hears something and looks up to see a giant cave, with a giant fire roaring. Tending the fire, and the deer cooking on it, is ''an oldish woman, tall and strong enough to be a man dressed up.'' She welcomes him in without hesitation and encourages him to dry off. It turns out this imposing woman is the mother of the four winds.

No sooner does she tell the Prince this than her four sons arrive one after the other and share their stories of where they've been. First comes the cold-loving Northwind, who has been in the Arctic seas with Russians hunting walruses. Following him is his brother the west wind, also known as Zephyr. He's been in the forests playing with the wild animals there. Shortly after his appearance the Southwind arrives from Africa. His mother isn't happy to hear he spent some of his time there blowing the sand so that it buried people alive, and so she forces him into one of the bags she uses to keep her sons in line.

He isn't in the bag long, though, because the Eastwind arrives from visiting China. He is planning to make his once-every-hundred-year visit to the Garden of Paradise the next day. He needs Southwind to tell him about the phoenix so he can share news of the bird with the Fairy of the Garden who lives there. You probably won't be surprised to hear the Prince finds a way to sit next to the Eastwind during dinner so he can ask about the Princess and about the Garden of Paradise. Even though he'll be the first human visitor since Adam and Eve, the Eastwind is quick to offer to take his new friend along the next day.

Finding And Losing the Garden

The Prince is pretty excited to find the journey is already under way when he wakes up in the Eastwind's arms the next morning. He can't help but be swept away by the beautiful scenery around him as the Eastwind flies faster than anything else in the world, towards their destination. Soon, they reach a wall of rock they must pass through: one side of which is ice cold and the other burning hot. Once through, it is not long before they reach a river, and the ''firm bridge of marble, as delicately and skillfully carved as it if were lace and glass beads'' that will take them to ''the Island of Bliss, where the Garden of Paradise bloomed.''

The Eastwind is already carrying him when the Prince wakes up

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