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The Lilac Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
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significance. The best plan seems to be to answer that I have
entirely abandoned mere literature, and am contemplating a book
on 'The Causes of Early Blight in the Potato,' a melancholy
circumstance which threatens to deprive us of our chief esculent
root. The inquirer would never be undeceived. One nymph who, like
the rest, could not keep off the horrid topic of my occupation,
said 'You never write anything but fairy books, do you?' A French
gentleman, too, an educationist and expert in portraits of Queen
Mary, once sent me a newspaper article in which he had written
that I was exclusively devoted to the composition of fairy books,
and nothing else. He then came to England, visited me, and found
that I knew rather more about portraits of Queen Mary than he
did.

In truth I never did write any fairy books in my life, except
'Prince Prigio,' 'Prince Ricardo,' and 'Tales from a Fairy
Court'--that of the aforesaid Prigio. I take this opportunity of
recommending these fairy books--poor things, but my own--to
parents and guardians who may never have heard of them. They are
rich in romantic adventure, and the Princes always marry the
right Princesses and live happy ever afterwards; while the wicked
witches, stepmothers, tutors and governesses are never cruelly
punished, but retire to the country on ample pensions. I hate
cruelty: I never put a wicked stepmother in a barrel and send her
tobogganing down a hill. It is true that Prince Ricardo did kill
the Yellow Dwarf; but that was in fair fight, sword in hand, and
the dwarf, peace to his ashes! died in harness.

The object of these confessions is not only that of advertising
my own fairy books (which are not 'out of print'; if your