The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

The taste of the world, which has veered so often, is con­stant enough to fairy tales. The children to whom and for whom they are told represent the young age of man. They are true to his early loves, they have his unblunted edge of belief, and his fresh appetite for marvels. The instinct of economy so works that we are still repeating to the boys and girls of each generation the stories that were old before Homer sang, and the adventures that have wandered, like the wandering Psyche, over all the world. We may alter now and again the arrangement of incidents, but these always remain essentially the same, and of all the combinations into which they can be fitted, the oldest combinations are still the favourites.
These truisms have been for some time recognised even by Science, and the study of nursery tales, of their wander­ings, their antiquity, their origin, has long been a diversion of the learned. This, however, is not the place to repeat the familiar antiquarian theories, nor to attempt any new variety of conjecture. Even a child (this preface is not meant for children) must recognise, as he turns the pages of the Blue Fairy Book, that the same adventures and something like the same plots meet him in stories translated from different lan­guages. The Scotch ' Black Bull of Norroway,' for example, must remind the very youngest reader of ' East of the Sun and West of the Moon,' a tale from the Norse. Both, again, have manifest resemblances to ' Beauty and the Beast,' and
Previous Contents Next