The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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INTRODUCTION                              xxi
creature.' Still more innocent are the White Bear, and the kind, and brave, and loyal Master Maid, and the Princess on the Hill of Glass.
The stories from Grimm are among the best in the world, and are probably familiar to most children who may be pre­sented with the Blue Fairy Book. They will not be sorry to laugh again with the ' Brave Little Tailor,' to shudder before the boy learned to do so, and to wander to the witch's lollipop cottage with Hansel and Grettel. The Grimms' Tales are now all done into English by Mrs. Hunt,1 but we have thought it better to give an original rendering, by Miss May Sellar.
The English tales are so scanty, and have been so flattened and stupefied, and crammed with gross rural jests, in the chap books, that we can only give a decent if a dull version of ' Jack the Giant Killer ' and ' Dick Whittington.' On the other hand ' Gulliver in Lilliput' has been condensed by Miss May Kendall; the marvels are left, and the satire is subdued. The Scotch stories are placed at the end for Scotch children. If English people ' hate dialect' so much that they cannot read the Waverley novels and Burns, English children (if inordinately and not merely affectedly stupid) may be puzzled by ' The Black Bull of Norroway,' and ' The Red Etin of Ireland.' Not much space, at all events, is sacrificed to the lore of what Mr. Gladstone once ingenuously supposed to be the ' Land o' the Leal.' The Etin and the Bull are such very old friends of the editor's, that he could not omit them when the fairies were the festival.
As in all collections, many critics will miss many of their favourites. Space has its limits, and one is reluctantly obliged to leave out a tale or two from the Mabinogion, several from Islay's stories of the "West Highlands, and many from modern Greek, Japanese, Hindoo, Bassuto, Bed Indian, Berber, Egyptian, and, above all, Finnish and Slavonic sources. As this essay was being written came the sad news that our Folk-Lore
1 G. Bell and Sons.
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