The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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xviii                                FAIRY TALES
one of them said, prodigiously; nothing hut the tissue into which they stitched their flowers of gold and silver thread was traditional. The long descriptions of royal fetes, the diamonds, the masques, the carriages, the compliments, were pure Louis Quinze. We have not, therefore, translated these tales at full length.
Miss Minnie Wright has reduced the novels of the Cabinet des Fees from the original to the proportion of nursery tales. Of them all, I think ' The Yellow Dwarf' is the best. It has become part of the popular treasure; the fairies have stolen it as they stole Tamlane and other mortal children. It has dwelt in fairy land, and tasted fairy bread. ' The Yellow Dwarf,' like ' The Wonderful Sheep,' ends ill; a thing unknown in true popular fairy tradition. But it has touches of the right supernatural. When the Princess wakens, after her betrothal to the Yellow Dwarf, and hopes it was a dream, and finds on her finger the fatal ring of one red hair, we have a brave touch of horror and of truth. All of us have wakened and struggled with a dim evil memory, and trusted it was a dream, and found, in one form or other, a proof, a shape of that ring of red hair. The Dwarf's charger, his black cat, and all his wicked yellow tints, his wooden shoes, his little yellow coat, his orange tree, and his cruel satire, are excellently invented. Indeed I hope he will haunt the dreams of no child as he haunted my own. He seems to me like a prophecy of the Revolution, and of all that the ugly men in wooden shoes did to the beautiful princesses. Do you not admire, also, the ingredients of the lion's cakeŚmillet seed, sugar candy, and crocodile's eggs? How distinctly one remembers, among the dim thoughts of childhood, the impression made by that mysterious, ominous cake, in the beginning of the tale. What lions they were, tooŚ' each had two heads, eight feet, and four rows of teeth, and their skins were as hard as turtle shells, and bright red.' It was an ugsome wilderness, horribly haunted, that lay around that
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