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

INTRODUCTION                                  xv
and out of the way of true popular tradition. Again, the house of sugar-plums in 'Hansel and Grettel' is clearly modern, perhaps the fancy of some educated nurse ; while the ogress who fattens children is old in legendóZulus and Tartars know heróand is a part of history too, if we may credit a traveller's tale in Pinkerton, about the cannibal folk near Suakin. Even in the ' Eed Etin ' the verses,
The Red Etin of Ireland He lives in Ballygan,
are only in part things of tradition. The middle verse is a portion of tbe chant in an old game of Scotch children, the application to the Eed Etin has some modest literary origin. It were superfluous to add that the stories from the Arabian Nights (' Aladdin,' < The Forty Thieves,' ' The Fairy Pari-banou ') have dwindled into their present condition from a literary form. The originals may be found by English readers in Sir Eichard Burton's literal translation. As rendered there, the Mdrchen have been modified and amplified to suit Oriental literary taste, which has moments of (rualty and lust, as well as hours of florid tedium. For general readers the best Arabian Nights will always be, not Mr. Lane's, not Mr. John Payne's, not Sir Eichard Burton's, but the old English translation of Galland's old adaptation. ' The Fairy Paribanou,' in this book, is merely an abridgment of the English rendering of Galland ; but, abridged as it is, it may seem long, and the translator's manner may seem odd to children. In Miss Violet Hunt's versions of ' Aladdin,' and ' The Forty Thieves,' the tastes of children are more carefully studied, and the true and literary forms of the tales have thus dwindled down into something probably more like the Mdrchen which must have been their source. These processes have constantly been going on in the course of time. The old tradition is, as a rule, the original form, that is worked up into literature, as in Homer, where the ' Odyssey ' is based on a string of different
Previous Contents Next