Folklore, legends, myths and fairy tales
have followed childhood through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly unreal.
WHEN the author of these little tales
commenced them, it was her intention to form a short series of such stories as, it was hoped, might not be entirely without moral advantage; but unforeseen circumstances have prevented their completion, and, unwilling to delay the publication any longer, she commits them to the world in their present unfinished state, without any flattering anticipations of their reception.
We may be sure that when the day's work was done, when the fight or the chase was over, they gathered round the wood fire and listened to the tales
of the story-teller.
I had just finished writing "The End of the Tether" and was casting about for some subject which could be developed in a shorter form than the tales
in the volume of "Youth" when the instance of a steamship full of returning coolies from Singapore to some port in northern China occurred to my recollection.
And this was the tribute paid by the American public to the master who had given to it such tales
of conjuring charm, of witchery and mystery as "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "Ligea; such fascinating hoaxes as "The Unparalleled Adventure of Hans Pfaall," "MSS.
Just at that moment the merry old man came in who lived up a-top of the house all alone; for he had neither wife nor children--but he liked children very much, and knew so many fairy tales
, that it was quite delightful.
of the Ethiopian Prester John, of diamonds that by proper care can be made to grow, of trees whose fruit is an odd sort of lambs, and a hundred other equally remarkable phenomena, are narrated with skilful verisimilitude and still strongly hold the reader's interest, even if they no longer command belief.
And shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales
which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up?
THE first three numbers in this collection are tales
of the White Hills in New Hampshire.
Once on a time I really imagined myself "an author of fairy tales
," but now I am merely an editor or private secretary for a host of youngsters whose ideas I am requestsed to weave into the thread of my stories.
But a kind of continuation of the Tales
of my Landlord had been recently attempted by a stranger, and it was supposed this Dedicatory Epistle might pass for some imitation of the same kind, and thus putting enquirers upon a false scent, induce them to believe they had before them the work of some new candidate for their favour.
That is the tale
of Nada the Lily, my father, and of how we avenged her.