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HOW TO FAIL IN LITERATURE What should be a man’s or a woman’s reason for taking literature as a vocation, what sort of success ought they to desire, what sort of ambition should possess them?  These are natural questions, now that so many readers exist in the world, all asking for something new, now that so many writers are making their pens “in running to devour the way” over so many acres of foolscap.  The... more...

PREFACE The Editor takes this opportunity to repeat what he has often said before, that he is not the author of the stories in the Fairy Books; that he did not invent them 'out of his own head.' He is accustomed to being asked, by ladies, 'Have you written anything else except the Fairy Books?' He is then obliged to explain that he has NOT written the Fairy Books, but, save these, has written almost everything else, except hymns, sermons, and... more...

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EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION. As I sat, one evening, idly musing on memories of roers and Boers, and contemplating the horns of a weendigo I had shot in Labrador and the head of a Moo Cow1 from Canada, I was roused by a ring at the door bell. 1 A literary friend to whom I have shown your MS. says a weendigo is Ojibbeway for a cannibal. And why do you shoot poor Moo Cows?—Publisher. Mere slip of the pen. Meant a Cow Moose. Literary gent no... more...

INTRODUCTION It is not without diffidence that the editor offers The True Story Book to children. We have now given them three fairy books, and their very kind and flattering letters to the editor prove, not only that they like the three fairy books, but that they clamour for more. What disappointment, then, to receive a volume full of adventures which actually happened to real people! There is not a dragon in the collection, nor even a giant;... more...

Preface The children who read fairy books, or have fairy books read to them, do not read prefaces, and the parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, who give fairy books to their daughters, nieces, and cousins, leave prefaces unread. For whom, then, are prefaces written? When an author publishes a book 'out of his own head,' he writes the preface for his own pleasure. After reading over his book in print—to make sure that all the 'u's' are not... more...


To The Friendly Reader This is the third, and probably the last, of the Fairy Books of many colours. First there was the Blue Fairy Book; then, children, you asked for more, and we made up the Red Fairy Book; and, when you wanted more still, the Green Fairy Book was put together. The stories in all the books are borrowed from many countries; some are French, some German, some Russian, some Italian, some Scottish, some English, one Chinese.... more...

Preface 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... more...

Preface The stories in this Fairy Book come from all quarters of the world. For example, the adventures of 'Ball-Carrier and the Bad One' are told by Red Indian grandmothers to Red Indian children who never go to school, nor see pen and ink. 'The Bunyip' is known to even more uneducated little ones, running about with no clothes at all in the bush, in Australia. You may see photographs of these merry little black fellows before their troubles... more...

TO CHILDREN. The Author of this book is also the Editor of the Blue, Red, Greenland Yellow Fairy Books. He has always felt rather an impostor, because so many children seem to think that he made up these books out of his own head. Now he only picked up a great many old fairy tales, told in French, German, Greek, Chinese, Red Indian, Russian, and other languages, and had them translated and printed, with pictures. He is glad that children like... more...

I. To W. M. Thackeray. Sir,—There are many things that stand in the way of the critic when he has a mind to praise the living. He may dread the charge of writing rather to vex a rival than to exalt the subject of his applause. He shuns the appearance of seeking the favour of the famous, and would not willingly be regarded as one of the many parasites who now advertise each movement and action of contemporary genius. 'Such and such men of... more...