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From "The Goldenrod Fairy Book" selected and translated by Esther Singleton; Dodd, Mead & Company; New York; pp. iii-vi.





FAIRYLAND is not on any map, and some people actually insist that there is no such country. It has been said, however, that if you can reach the place where the rainbow touches the earth, there you will find a golden key (and the directions with it, I hope), which will open the Enchanted Realm for you. It is not necessary to undertake such a tedious search, for all you need is a comfortable chair and a bright fire, if possible, and a book full of delightful stories (like this one, for instance), that have charmed both children and grown people for more years than you can count.

Now, Fairyland is a queer place, If you think about it earnestly enough, you will suddenly find yourself there. We know it lies beyond the clouds and that the Fairy palace is perfectly magnificent, with its crystal dome and its hundred towers and its vast halls ablaze with gold iv and precious stones. An old English poet tells us:

“This palace standeth in the air,
  By necromancy placed there,
  That it no tempest needeth fear,
        Which way soe’er it blow it.
  And somewhere southward tow’rd the noon,
  Whence lies a way up to the moon,
  And thence the fairy can as soon
        Pass to the earth below it.”

Do not expect always to see delicate and beautiful fairies; you will frequently meet cruel ogres, horrid demons, wicked elves, malicious sorceresses, greedy dwarfs, ugly gnomes and malignant genii; and, moreover, you will often come across beasts and birds and trees and flowers that think and feel and talk like human beings. It is all very strange indeed, and the most ordinary objects, such as books and tables and sticks and nuts and lemons and flowers, are often fairy — that is to say, they have magical powers.


I am sure that if you begin with The White Cat you will quickly find yourself in Fairyland, and there you will stay until you will have read every story in this book, and when you reach those two sad words, THE END, you will be very sorry indeed.

You may tell the older people that all these stories are familiar in England, France, Poland, Bohemia, Russia, India, China, Italy, Denmark, Ireland and Spain. The White Cat is by Madam D’Aulnoy; the English version by Miss Lee, which I have slightly cut and condensed. Hop o’ My Thumb I have translated myself, as closely as possible, so as to preserve Perrault’s quaint language and sly humour. The Danish tales are Hans Andersen’s, and the German are Grimm’s; and for the two last-named authors I have used Mrs. Paull’s excellent translations.

E. S.

NEW YORK, September, 1903.




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