THE LILAC FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

A Collection of Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search



Share page  


Previous Contents Next

PREFACE
vii
fairy books have been almost wholly the work of Mrs. Lang, who has translated and adapted them from the French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, and other languages.
My part has been that of Adam, according to Mark Twain, in the Garden of Eden. Eve worked, Adam superintended. I also superintend. I find out where the stories are, and advise, and, in short, superintend. I do not write, the, stories out of my own head. The reputa­tion of having written all the fairy books (an European reputation in nurseries and the United States of America) is ' the burden of an honour unto which I was not born.' It weighs upon and is killing me, as the general fash of being the wife of the Lord of Bur­leigh, Burleigh House by Stamford Town, was too much for the village maiden espoused by that peer.
Nobody really wrote most of the stories. People told them in all parts of the world long before Egyptian hieroglyphics or Cretan signs or Cyprian syllabaries, or alphabets were invented. They are older than reading and writing, and arose like wild flowers before men had any education to quarrel over. The grannies told them to the grandchildren, and when the grandchildren be­came grannies they repeated the same old tales to the new generation. Homer knew the stories and made up the ' Odyssey ' out of half a dozen of them. All the history of Greece till about 800 B.C. is a string of the fairy tales, all about Theseus and Heracles and Oedipus and Minos and Perseus is a Cabinet des Fees, a collection of fairy tales. Shakespeare took them and put bits of them into ' King Lear ' and other plays ; he could not have made them up himself, great as he was. Let
Previous Contents Next