The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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intelligible. There comes in (as in ' Cupid and Psyche,' and ' Beauty and the Beast') the prettier moral of loyalty rewarded and true love invincible. Punishment of disobedient curiosity is the motive of ' Blue Beard,' and of all the stories about for­bidden doors, wells, trees, fruits, and so forth, which, among many races, are interwoven with the myth of ' The Origin of Death.' In ' Cinderella,' as we have it here, that is as Perrault gave it to the world, goodness, patience, kindness are rewarded. ' The Fairies ' of Perrault, or' Toads and Pearls,' is a moral tale very wide spread, and is found among Bassutos and Kaffirs. The lesson is one of kindness and politeness and gratitude, as in the numberless tales of grateful beasts, and as in ' The Bronze Ring.' But mere adroitness well recompensed is tbe moral of ' Tom Thumb,' and ' Puss in Boots,' as we have it here, though a different moral, that of gratitude, is inculcated in the more archaic forms current in Eastern Africa and the Soudan. Meanwhile ' Aladdin ' and ' The Fairy Paribanou ' are almost non-moral. "Why should Aladdin be so lucky, or Prince Ahmed favoured above his brothers ? These are caprices of chance, or of love.
This collection, made for the pleasure of children, and without scientific purpose, includes nursery tales which have a purely literary origin. Many of these were the work of ladies in the age when fairy tales were in vogue at the Court of France. It by no means followed that the courtiers had the hearts of children. A French lady said, 'J'aime les jeux innocents avec ceux qui ne le sont pas.'
It was for innocents of this kind that Madame d'Aulnoy, Madame de Yilleneuve, Madame Le Prince de Beaumont, and many others wrote. Their stories were often long polite romances; 'Beauty and the Beast,' in the original, is as long as Xorthanger Abbey. But these clever ladies, who furnished so much of the endless Cabinet cles Fees, used fairy properties and traditional incidents of metamorphosis, and of talking beasts. They ' embroidered on them,' as
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