They are problems of science, or of a study with scientific aims, rather than of literary criticism. Perhaps it seems almost as cruel to apply the methods of literary criticism as of science to Nursery Tales. He who would enter into the Kingdom of Faery should have the heart of a little child, if he is to be happy and at home in that enchanted realm. But I trust that one may have studied fairy tales both scientifically and in a literary way, without losing the heart of childhood, as far as those best of childish things are concerned. May one be forgiven the egotism of confessing, that in the reading and arranging of these old wives' fables, one has felt perhaps as much pleasure as the child who reads them, or hears them, for the first time? Children, as we know, like to hear a tale often, and always insist that it shall be told in the same
Decies repetita placebit!
' Blue Beard,' that little tragic and dramatic masterpiece,
moves me yet; I still tremble for Puss in Boots when the
ogre turns into a lion ; and still one's heart goes with the girl
who seeks her lost and enchanted lover, and wins him again
in the third night of watching and of tears. This may not
seem a taste to be proud of, but it is a taste to be grateful for,
like the love of any other thing that is old and plain, and
dallies with the simplicity of love.
' They all went to bed again, and the damsel began singing
' Seven lang years I served for thee,
The glassy hill I clamb for thee,
The bluidy shirt I wrang for thee,
And wilt thou not wauken and turn to me ?'
They will not waken and turn to us, our lost loves, our
translations of Grimm's ' Kinder- und Hausmarchen,' in The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche, in the Clarendon Press edition of Perrault's Contes de ma Mire l'Oye, in the last chapter of Myth, Ritual, and Religion, and the preface to Mr. Tuer's edition of the rhyme of ' Beauty and the Beast,' attributed to Charles Lamb.