The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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PREFACE
The Editor takes this opportunity to repeat what he has often said before, that he is not the author of the stories in the Fairy Books ; that he did not invent them ' out of his own head.' He is accustomed to being asked, by ladies, ' Have you written anything else except the Fairy Books ?' He is then obliged to explain that he has not written the Fairy Books, but, save these, has written almost everything else, except hymns, sermons, and dramatic works.
The stories in this Violet Fairy Book, as in all the others of the series, have been translated out of the popu­lar traditional tales in a number of different languages. These stories are as old as anything that men have in­vented. They are narrated by naked savage women to naked savage children. They have been inherited by our earliest civilised ancestors, who really believed that beasts and trees and stones can talk if they choose, and behave kindly or unkindly. The stories are full of the oldest ideas of ages when science did not exist, and magic took the place of science. Anybody who has the curiosity to read the ' Legendary Australian Tales,' which Mrs. Langloh Parker has collected from the lips of the Australian savages, will find that these tales are closely akin to our own. Who were the first authors of them nobody knows — probably the first men and women. Eve may have told these tales to amuse Cain and Abel. As people grew more civilised and had kings and queens,
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