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The Crimson Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
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The Crimson Fairy Book

Edited by

Andrew Lang


Each Fairy Book demands a preface from the Editor, and these
introductions are inevitably both monotonous and unavailing. A
sense of literary honesty compels the Editor to keep repeating that
he is the Editor, and not the author of the Fairy Tales, just as a
distinguished man of science is only the Editor, not the Author of
Nature. Like nature, popular tales are too vast to be the creation of
a single modern mind. The Editor's business is to hunt for
collections of these stories told by peasant or savage grandmothers
in many climes, from New Caledonia to Zululand; from the frozen
snows of the Polar regions to Greece, or Spain, or Italy, or far
Lochaber. When the tales are found they are adapted to the needs
of British children by various hands, the Editor doing little beyond
guarding the interests of propriety, and toning down to mild
reproofs the tortures inflicted on wicked stepmothers, and other
naughty characters.

These explanations have frequently been offered already; but, as far
as ladies and children are concerned, to no purpose. They still ask
the Editor how he can invent so many stories--more than
Shakespeare, Dumas, and Charles Dickens could have invented in a