The dragon with red eyes

The publishing house also received manuscripts from children, dreaming of becoming authors. Astrid took these very seriously and responded to the children with well thought-out advice and encouragement.

In a letter dated December 1953 two “13 year-old youngsters”, Jarl Hammarberg and Håkan “Haha” Andersson ask for “just a little story about a dragon” for their own magazine, “Maskrerade draken” [It was actually misspelled]. As payment they promise her a free copy of the magazine and “2 krånor” [should have been kronor]. Astrid sent the required story, “The dragon with the red eyes”, which apparently was a success. This can be deduced from a subsequent letter which reads: “You should really have more than the two kroner [misspelled again] you got. I’ll send it soon. Because instead of, as we thought, losing money on the magazine we gained.”

The young magazine editor Jarl Hammarberg went on to become an author and illustrator.

Many years later, in 1985, a picture book was made from that story, illustrated by Ilon Wikland.

© Ilon Wikland