Fairy Tales from All Nations
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The time has been, but happily exists no longer, when it would have been necessary to offer an apology for such a book as this. In those days it was not held that Beauty is its own excuse for being; on the contrary, a spurious utilitarianism reigned supreme in literature, and fancy and imagination were told to fold their wings, and travel only in the dusty paths of everyday life. Fairy tales, and all such flights into the region of the supernatural, were then condemned as merely idle things, or as pernicious occupations for faculties that should be always directed to serious and profitable concerns. But now we have cast off that pedantic folly, let us hope forever. We now acknowledge that innocent amusement is good for its own sake, and we do not affect to prove our advance in civilization by our incapacity to relish those sportive creations of unrestricted fancy that have been the delight of every generation in every land from times beyond the reach of history.
The materials of the following collection have been carefully chosen from more than a hundred volumes of the fairy lore of all nations; and none of them, so far as the Editor was aware, had been previously translated into English.
Actually, all these stories were originally oral and passed along verbally because there were no printing presses or books at the time. In addition to storytellers of one kind or another going back several thousands of years BC, a primary way of communication was by drawing pictures of whatever mental images they were trying to make known. Many of the stories varied widely in content because they existed in tribal fashion from many corners of the world.
The joys and wonders of the marvelous world of imagination obviously cannot be magically gathered into an explainable package, so it's best to issue an invitation to hear the fascinating and fanciful tales of yesteryear, no matter where or how they existed.