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Good Stories for Great Holidays by  Frances Jenkins Olcott



Front Matter

[Book Cover]

[Books by Frances Jenkins Olcott]




[Title Page]

[Copyright Page]


[v] THIS volume, though intended also for the children's own reading and for reading aloud, is especially planned for story-telling. The latter is a delightful way of arousing a gladsome holiday spirit, and of showing the inner meanings of different holidays. As stories used for this purpose are scattered through many volumes, and as they are not always in the concrete form required for story-telling, I have endeavored to bring together myths, legends, tales, and historical stories suitable to holiday occasions.

There are here collected one hundred and twenty stories for seventeen holidays—stories grave, gay, humorous, or fanciful; also some that are spiritual in feeling, and others that give the delicious thrill of horror so craved by boys and girls at Halloween time. The range of selection is wide, and touches all sides of wholesome boy and girl nature, and the tales have the power to arouse an appropriate holiday spirit.

As far as possible the stories are presented in their original form. When, however, they are too long for inclusion, or too loose in structure for story-telling purposes, they are adapted.

Adapted stories are of two sorts. Condensed:  [vi] in which case a piece of literature is shortened, scarcely any changes being made in the original language. Rewritten:  here the plot, imagery, language, and style of the original are retained as far as possible, while the whole is moulded into form suitable for story-telling. Some few stories are built up on a slight framework of original matter.

Thus it may be seen that the tales in this volume have not been reduced to the necessarily limited vocabulary and uniform style of one editor, but that they are varied in treatment and language, and are the products of many minds.

A glance at the table of contents will show that not only have selections been made from modern authors and from the folklore of different races, but that some quaint old literary sources have been drawn on. Among the men and books contributing to these pages are the Gesta Romanorum, Il Libro d'Oro, Xenophon, Ovid, Lucian, the Venerable Bede, William of Malmesbury. John of Hildesheim, William Caxton, and the more modern Washington Irving, Hugh Miller, Charles Dickens, and Henry Cabot Lodge; also those immortals, Hans Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, Horace E. Scudder, Eugene Field, and others.

The stories are arranged to meet the needs of story-telling in the graded schools. Reading-lists, showing where to find additional material [vii] for story-telling and collateral reading, are added. Grades in which the recommended stories are useful are indicated.

The number of selections in the volume, as well as the references to other books, is limited by the amount and character of available material. For instance, there is little to be found for Saint Valentine's Day, while there is an overwhelming abundance of fine stories for the Christmas season. Stories like Dickens's "Christmas Carol," Ouida's "Dog of Flanders," and Hawthorne's tales, which are too long for inclusion and would lose their literary beauty if condensed, are referred to in the lists. Volumes containing these stories may be procured at the public library.

A subject index is appended. This indicates the ethical, historical, and other subject-matter of interest to the teacher, thus making the volume serviceable for other occasions besides holidays.

In learning her tale the story-teller is advised not to commit it to memory. Such a method is apt to produce a wooden or glib manner of presentation. It is better for her to read the story over and over again until its plot, imagery, style, and vocabulary become her own, and then to retell it, as Miss Bryant says, "simply, vitally, joyously."


[ix] THE compiler's thanks are due to the following publishers and authors who have allowed the publication of their stories in this volume:—

To the American Book Company for permission to use "A Brave Girl," by James Johonnot; "A Gunpowder Story," by John Esten Cooke; "Columbus and the Egg," and "Cornelia's Jewels," by James Baldwin; "Shippeitaro," by Mary F. Nixon-Roulet; "Signing of the Declaration of Independence," by H. A. Guerber; "The Proud Oak Tree," and "The Three Little Butterfly Brothers," from Deutsches Drittes Lesebuch.

To the Century Company for permission to use "Bill Brown's Test," by Cleveland Moffett.

To the Cosmopolitan Magazine  for permission to use "A Prisoner's Valentine," by Millicent Olmsted.

To the Courier-Journal Job Printing Company for permission to use "Two Hero-Stories of the Civil War," by Ben La Bree.

To J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., for permission to use "The King of the Cats," by Ernest Rhys.

To E. P. Dutton and Company, for permission to use "Saint Christopher," by William Caxton; "The Lark and its Young Ones," and "The Smithy," by P. V. Ramaswami Raju.

To Ginn and Company for permission to use "Washington the Athlete," by Albert F. Blaisdell and Francis K. Ball.

[x] To Henry Holt and Company for permission to use "A Flag Incident," by M. M. Thomas; and "Baucis and Philemon," by H. P. Maskell.

To J. B. Lippincott Company for permission to use "The Revenge of Coriolanus," by Charles Morris; "The Three Kings of Cologne," by H. S. Morris.

To Little, Brown and Company for permission to use "The Greedy Geese," from Il libro d'Oro, translated by Mrs. Francis Alexander.

To Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Company for permission to use "Training for the Presidency," by Orison Swett Marden.

To the Macmillan Company for permission to use "Queen Margaret and the Robbers," by Albert F. Blaisdell; "The Boston Tea-Party," by John Andrews; "The Little Drummer-Boy," by Albert Bushnell Hart; "Burg Hill's on Fire," by Elizabeth W. Grierson.

To Milton Bradley Company for permission to use "The Fairy's New Year Gift," by Emilie Poulsson; "The Snowdrop," adapted by Bailey and Lewis.

To the New York State Museum for permission to use "The Elves," and "The Spirit of the Corn," by Harriet Maxwell Converse.

To the Presbyterian Board of Publication for permission to use "Betsy Ross and the Flag," by Harry Pringle Ford, published in Forward Magazine.

To G. P. Putnam's Sons for permission to use "He rescues the Birds," "The Colonel of the Zouaves," "Why Lincoln was called 'Honest Abe,' " by Noah Brooks; "The Magpie's Nest," and "The Strange Visitor," by Joseph Jacobs.

[xi] To Fleming H. Revell Company for permission to use "The Caņon Flowers," by Ralph Connor.

To Mr. William S. Walsh for permission to use "The Three Purses," and "The Thunder Oak."

To Houghton Mifflin Company for permission to use "Arachne," and "Cupid and Psyche," by Josephine Preston Peabody; "A Solomon come to Judgment," "George Pickett's Friend," "Lincoln and the Little Girl," by Charles W. Moores; "Hofus the Stone-Cutter," from the Riverside Third Reader;  "Babes in the Woods," by John Burroughs; "Hansel and Grethel," by the Brothers Grimm; "The Busy Blue Jay," by Olive Thorne Miller; "The Dove who spoke Truth," by Abbie Farwell Brown; "The Dryad of the Old Oak," by James Russell Lowell; "The Elves and the Shoemaker," and "Young George and the Colt," by Horace E. Scudder; "The First Harvest Home in Plymouth," by W. De Loss Love, Jr.; "The Mother Murre," by Dallas Lore Sharp; "The Pine Tree," "The Little Match Girl," "The Loveliest Rose in the World," by Hans Christian Andersen; "Little Piccola," by Celia Thaxter; "The Nail," by the Brothers Grimm; "The Old Woman who became a Woodpecker," by Phœbe Cary; "The Pride of the Regiment," by Harry M. Kieffer; "The Quails," from the Riverside Fourth Reader;  "The Stream that Ran Away," by Mary Austin; "The Star-Spangled Banner," by Eva March Tappan; "The Mutiny," by A. de Lamartine; "Washington at Yorktown," and "Washington's Modesty," by Henry Cabot Lodge; "Why the Evergreen Trees never lose their Leaves," by Florence Holbrook.

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