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ADA, EVA, AND MERVYN
HE primary idea of this collection of well-known and
much-loved tales is to bring together under one cover
those stories which have won a most assured place in
literature for children between the ages of four and nine.
The compiler has at different times had occasion to look up
many of the tales contained in this collection, and quite frequently
the task has been long and tedious. Many a librarian and teacher
has sought his assistance, having failed, after exhausting all the
means at her command, to locate some favorite story. To all in
such case it is to be hoped that this volume will be of help.
Stories for children should appeal especially to the imagination
and its development, and the fairy or wonder tale is a most potent
means to this end. That this has been recognized from the earli
est times is proved by the fact that the original sources of many of
the stories collected by Charles Perrault (published under the
title of Mother Goose's Nursery Tales), the Brothers Grimm,
Mme. D'Aulnoy, Charles Marelles, Asbjornsen and Moe, Hans
Christian Andersen, and others, are lost in the shades of antiquity.
The fairy tales that have lived through the ages have done so
because of their real merit. In most of them is evidenced the
kindergarten idea of presenting something of real value, usually
a stimulant to the moral sense, in a sugar-coated form. In any
event, they are a source of unbounded delight to the child, and
cruel indeed are the parents or guardians who, from a misguided
sense of duty, deliberately exclude from the reading selected for
the children committed to their care, everything that savors of
[viii] "manifest untruth." It is to be regretted that there are many
such unwise, not to say unkind, persons.
It is perhaps worthy of note that Charles Perrault, the
Countess d'Aulnoy, the Brothers Grimm, and others whose
names are so closely associated with the fairy tale, are remem
bered solely on that account, and not by reason of any other
contribution they may have made to the literature of their
Much attention is now given by educators to the study of fairy
and folk tales, and their value to the child as a help towards his
greater mental development. Heretofore this has been left to
the parent, who, probably, has utilized this means merely to pro-
vide the child with amusement and pleasure, and without any
idea of its educational possibilities.
Who of us in relating to a child the exploits of "Jack and
the Bean-Stalk," or "Tom Thumb " or "Jack the Giant Killer,"
is not carried back to the time when he sat himself in his mother's
lap, listening with rapt attention to the unfolding of the story?
One's own childhood days are brought back vividly, and, if for
no other reason than this, let us be grateful for the fairy tale.
In this volume a wide range of authorities has been consulted,
and every effort made to give the best version of each tale.