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

• • •
vin
PREFACE
ladies and gentlemen think of this when they sit down to write fairy tales, and have them nicely typed, and send them to Messrs. Longman & Co. to be published. They think that to write a new fairy tale is easy work. They are mistaken : the thing is impossible. Nobody can write a new fairy tale ; you can only mix up and dress up the old, old stories, and put the characters into new-dresses, as Miss Thackeray did so well in ' Five Old Friends.' If any big girl of fourteen reads this preface, let her insist on being presented with ' Five Old Friends.'
But the three hundred and sixty-five authors who try to write new fairy tales are very tiresome. They always begin with a little boy or girl who goes out and meets the fairies of polyanthuses and gardenias and apple blossoms : ' Flowers and fruits, and other winged things.' These fairies try to be funny, and fail; or they try to preach, and succeed. Real fairies never preach or talk slang. At the end, the little boy or girl wakes up and finds that he has been dreaming.
Such are the new fairy stories. May we be pre­served from all the sort of them !
Our stories are almost all old, some from Ireland, before that island was as celebrated for her wrongs as for her verdure; some from Asia, made, I dare say, before the Aryan invasion ; some from Moydart, Knoy-dart, Morar and Ardnamurchan, where the sea streams run like great clear rivers and the saw-edged hills are blue, and men remember Prince Charlie. Some are from Portugal, where the golden fruits grow in the Garden of the Hesperides ; and some are from wild Wales, and were told at Arthur's Court; and others come from the firesides of the kinsmen of the Welsh, the
Previous Contents Next