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The Arabian Nights by Andrew Lang
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The Arabian Nights Entertainments,
Selected and Edited by Andrew Lang

after the edition of
Longmans, Green and Co, 1918 (1898)






Preface


The stories in the Fairy Books have generally been such as old
women in country places tell to their grandchildren. Nobody knows
how old they are, or who told them first. The children of Ham,
Shem and Japhet may have listened to them in the Ark, on wet days.
Hector's little boy may have heard them in Troy Town, for it is
certain that Homer knew them, and that some of them were written
down in Egypt about the time of Moses.

People in different countries tell them differently, but they
are always the same stories, really, whether among little Zulus,
at the Cape, or little Eskimo, near the North Pole. The changes
are only in matters of manners and customs; such as wearing clothes
or not, meeting lions who talk in the warm countries, or talking
bears in the cold countries. There are plenty of kings and queens
in the fairy tales, just because long ago there were plenty of kings
in the country. A gentleman who would be a squire now was a kind