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The New International Encyclopædia/Asbjörnsen, Peter Christen

ASBJÖRNSEN, ȧs-byẽrn′sen, Peter Christen (1812-85). A distinguished Norwegian student of folk-lore and zoölogy, born at Christiania. He studied at Christiania University, and taught for several years. He made long journeys on foot for scientific purposes, in the course of which he collected popular tales and legends, which, in coöperation with his friend Jörgen Moe, the future Bishop of Christiansand (1838), he published, and later several times supplemented (Norwegian Folk Tales, 1842-44; Norwegian Fairy Tales and Folk Legends, 1845). His scientific researches earned him traveling stipends at intervals from 1846 to 1853. He then studied forestry, and held various official positions in connection with the forest and turf industries from 1860 to 1876, when he was pensioned. He made several important discoveries in deep-sea soundings, and wrote on zoölogy and other scientific subjects; but this side of his work is quite overshadowed by work in folk-lore, which shows literary talent and much originality. He did not, like the Grimms and Arnason, aim merely at reproduction, but retold the stories in settings that illustrated the life and mental horizon of the people, with exquisite bits of natural description that found immediate and wide recognition.