Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by E. T. A. HOFFMANN

E.T.A. Hoffmann, the original author of The Nutcracker, was actually named Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, but he changed the Wilhelm to Amadeus out of admiration for Mozart. He wrote about music, he also composed it. He drew, he painted, and wrote spooky fairytales. 

One of Hoffmann's stories was adapted by the French writer Alexandre Dumas. It was about a little girl, Marie, her Christmas toys, and scary mice. You know the rest of it. Hoffmann's title for it was "Nutcracker and Mouse King." 

In 1892, Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov made Duma's adaptation into ballet, the Nutcracker, the most famous ballet in the world.  It is hard to imagine that there a book, written in 1816, that started it all. If you haven't yet - you should read it, while the candle burns.