Saturday, 22 May 2010

How to Correct Bad Handwriting in Children by Hans Christian Andersen

Enlist the help of Ole Luk-Oie to have even the worst handwriting corrected effortlessly. While your child sleeps Ole shall produce the best handwritten homework you have ever set eyes upon. Want to find out how? It is simple. Just have your children sit very quietly at the table in the evening. Ole Luk-Oie will creep behind them noiselessly in his socks and squirt sweet milk in their eyes and blow softly upon their necks and make their heads heavy. Then you can take them to bed.

Hans Christian Andersen, Ole Luk-Oie. 
Illustrations by Vilhelm Pedersen and Lorenz Frolich

Once the children are asleep, Ole sits down on their bed. He wears a silk coat of many colours and holds an umbrella full of dreams. But what's that he hears from the table drawer? A terrible wail. There is a great lamentation coming from the copy-book.

This is what Ole sees:

The slate is suffering from convulsions for a wrong number had got into the sum; the slate pencil tugged and jumped at its string; a great lamentation is coming from the copy-book: the letters the child has written lay down just as if they had tumbled over the pencil lines on which they were to stand.
"See, this is how you should hold yourselves," said the Copy. "Look sloping in this way, with a powerful swing!"
"Oh, we should be very glad to do that", replied the Letters, "but we cannot; we are too weakly".

Ole Luk-Oie sitting on the inkstand and correcting bad handwriting.

This is want Ole does:

"Then you must take medicine", says Ole to the Letters.
They cry "oh, no" at first but they immediately stand up so gracefully that they are beautiful to behold.
Ole Luk-Oie exercises them "One, two! one, two!" and thus exercised they stand quite slender and as beautiful as any copy can be.

Terms and Conditions: This method corrects bad handwriting as long as the child is asleep and Ole Luk-Oie is present. Once the child wakes up the following morning the letters are as weak and miserable as ever.

 See him sleeping on Flickr

Verbatim from The Complete Illustrated Stories of Hans Christian Andersen, "Ole Luk-Oie", Trans. H.W. Dulcken, Chancellor Press 1983, first published in Great Britain in 1889, pp. 103-4.


  1. Gosh!Wonder if it would work for me?

  2. Just close your eyes, relaaax, let Ole come into your life.

  3. what a sweet story! and so clever: "once the child wakes up..."

  4. Thanks Blandine, yes I love that story, Ole is the German "Sandman", I think, and this is the story he told on Monday.