The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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you will read some day. Here you will find the witch who turns men into swine, and the man who bores out the big foolish giant's eye, and the cap of darkness and the shoes of swiftness that were worn later by Jack the Giant-Killer. These fairy tales are the oldest stories in the world, and as they were first made by men who were child-like for their own amusement, so they amuse children still, and also grown-up people who have not forgotten how they once were children.
Some of the stories were made not only to amuse, but to teach goodness. You see in the tales how the boy who is kind to beasts, and polite, and generous, and brave, always comes best through his trials, and no doubt these tales were meant to make their hearers kind, unselfish, courte­ous, and courageous. This is the moral of them. But, after all, we think more as we read them of the diversion than of the lesson. There are grown-up people now who say that the stories are not good for children because they are not true, because there are no witches nor talking beasts, and because people are killed in them, especially wicked giants. But probably you who read the tales know very well how much is true and how much is only make-believe, and I never yet heard of a child who killed a very tall man merely because Jack killed the giants, or who was unkind to his stepmother, if he had one, because in fairy tales the stepmother is often disagreeable. If there are frightful monsters in fairy tales they do not frighten you now, because that kind of monster is no longer going about the world, whatever he may have done long, long ago. He has been turned into stone, and you may see his remains in museums. Therefore I am not afraid that you will be afraid of the magicians and dragons; besides, you see that a really brave boy or girl was always their master, even in the height of their power.
Some of the tales here, like "The Half-Chick," are for
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