THE ORANGE 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

vi
The ORANGE FAIRY BOOK
Editor, as he has often explained, 'out of his own head.' The stories are taken from those told by grannies to grandchildren in many countries and in many languages — French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Gaelic, Icelandic, Cherokee, African, Indian, Australian, Slavonic, Eskimo, and what not. The stories are not literal, or word by word translations, but have been altered in many ways to make them suitable for children. Much has been left out in places, and the narrative has been broken up into conversations, the characters telling each other how mat­ters stand, and speaking for themselves, as children, and some older people, prefer them to do. In many tales, fairly cruel and savage deeds are done, and these have been softened down as much as possible; though it is impossible, even if it were desirable, to conceal the circumstance that popular stories were never intended to be tracts and nothing else. Though they usually take the side of courage and kindness, and the virtues in general, the old story-tellers admire successful cun­ning as much as Homer does in the Odyssey. At least, if the cuniijhg hero, "human £& animal, is the weaker, like Odysseus, Brer Rabbit, and many others, the story­teller sees little;in MiHlle'ct; but superior cunning, by which tiny Jack gets the-better of the giants. In the fairy tales of* no country' ;a/,e.;'improper' incidents com­mon, which is to the credit of human nature, as they were obviously composed mainly for children. It is not difficult to get rid of this element when it does occur in popular tales. The old puzzle remains a puzzle — why do the stories
Previous Contents Next