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Fairy Tales; Their Origin and Meaning by Bunce

Produced by David Deley

FAIRY TALES, THEIR ORIGIN AND MEANING

With Some Account of Dwellers in Fairyland

By John Thackray Bunce

INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

The substance of this volume was delivered as a course of Christmas Holiday Lectures, in 1877, at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, of which the author was then the senior Vice-president. It was found that both the subject and the matter interested young people; and it was therefore thought that, revised and extended, the Lectures might not prove unacceptable in the form of a Book. The volume does not pretend to scientific method, or to complete treatment of the subject. Its aim is a very modest one: to furnish an inducement rather than a formal introduction to the study of Folk Lore; a study which, when once begun, the reader will pursue, with unflagging interest, in such works as the various writings of Mr. Max-Muller; the "Mythology of the Aryan Nations," by Mr. Cox; Mr. Ralston's "Russian Folk Tales;" Mr. Kelly's "Curiosities of Indo-European Folk Lore;" the Introduction to Mr. Campbell's "Popular Tales of the West Highlands," and other publications, both English and German, bearing upon the same subject. In the hope that his labour may serve this purpose, the author ventures to ask for an indulgent rather than a critical reception of this little volume.

BIRMINGHAM,

September, 1878.

LIST OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. ORIGIN OF FAIRY TALES--THE ARYAN RACE: ITS CHARACTERISTICS, ITS TRADITIONS, AND ITS MIGRATIONS

CHAPTER II. KINDRED TALES FROM DIVERS LANDS

CHAPTER III. DWELLERS IN FAIRYLAND: STORIES FROM THE EAST

CHAPTER IV. DWELLERS IN FAIRYLAND: TEUTONIC, SCANDINAVIAN, ETC.

CHAPTER V. DWELLERS IN FAIRYLAND: CELTIC, THE WEST HIGHLANDS

CHAPTER VI. CONCLUSION-SOME POPULAR TALES EXPLAINED.

INDEX

CHAPTER I.--ORIGIN OF FAIRY STORIES.

We are going into Fairy Land for a little while, to see what we can find there to amuse and instruct us this Christmas time. Does anybody know the way? There are no maps or guidebooks, and the places we meet with in our workaday world do not seem like the homes of the Fairies. Yet we have only to put on our Wishing Caps, and we can get into Fairy Land in a moment. The house-walls fade away, the winter sky brightens, the sun shines out, the weather grows warm and pleasant; flowers spring up, great trees cast a friendly shade, streams murmur cheerfully over their pebbly beds, jewelled fruits are to be had for the trouble of gathering them; invisible hands set out well-covered dinner-tables, brilliant and graceful forms flit in and out across our path, and we all at once find ourselves in the midst of a company of dear old friends whom we have known and loved ever since we knew anything. There is Fortunatus with his magic purse, and the square of carpet that carries him anywhere; and Aladdin with his wonderful lamp; and Sindbad with the diamonds he has picked up in the Valley of Serpents; and the Invisible Prince, who uses the fairy cat to get his dinner for him; and the Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, just awakened by the young Prince, after her long sleep of a hundred years; and Puss in Boots curling his whiskers after having eaten up the ogre who foolishly changed himself into a mouse; and Beauty and the Beast; and the Blue Bird; and Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack the Giant Killer, and Jack and the Bean Stalk; and the Yellow Dwarf; and Cinderella and her fairy godmother; and great numbers besides, of whom we haven't time to say anything now.


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