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became the order of in wild tales which make the child a the day. And trivial enough were the man, while all the time he suspects incidents as well as the morals himself to be a child. ... Think of pointed for the long-suffering and what you would have been now, if, well-brought-up little children who instead of being fed with tales and old read them. Retribution is swift in wives' fables in childhood, you had these stories, as well as severe. The been crammed with Geography and thoughtless boy forgets to tie his shoe, Natural History.” and he instantly falls down stairs and It is a relief to come upon Charles breaks his leg, while his father stands Lamb's Story of Ulysses and Mrs. moralizing over him on the sin of care- Leicester's School amid all the utiliiessness instead of fetching a doctor. tarian literature of the time. In the Bad boys are all hanged on gibbets, former he has given a romantic touch and the good ones become smug Lord and a literary form to one of the finest Mayors and ride in ilt coa and tales in the world for children. And all the parents lack humor, humanity, Mrs. Leicester's School has a charm of and a sense of proportion. Truly the its own with its dainty descriptions, theory of the discipline of conse- natural incidents, and sweet humor. quences ran smoothly in these stories, One reads it again and again with where the wicked ceased to flourish as something like longing to be an imaga green bay tree.
inative person of eight, in order fully The merit of this didactic literature to enter into it. "Wisest, virtuousest, differed considerably. Miss Edge. discreetest, best,” is the verdict of Sir worth's and Mrs. Barbauld's work Thomas Talfourd the work of commands our respect. There is often Charles and Mary Lamb for children, a dignified simplicity and stately seri- Their books truly shine like gleams of ousness about it which we must ad- sunlight in a gray didactic age. Even mire. But we cannot love the stories Dr. Johnson has a word to say in faof these ladies, any more than we can vor of the fairies: "Babies do not like love the prim little Harrys and Lucys to hear stories of babies like themin them, with their proper behavior selves,” he says; “they require to have and correct sentiments. "Belief in the their imagination raised by tales of efficacy of preaching is the bane of giants and fairies, castles and enchanteducational systems,” as Moreley says; ments.” This rouses a protest from and this truly was an era of preaching Miss Edgeworth, who soberly argues without end. Along with this eternal that children are not to be given the preaching came shoals of intolerably things they like. “Why should their dull little books on general informa- minds be filled with fantastic visions tion. All things under heaven were instead of useful knowledge?” she taught to little children in improving asks severely. “It is to be hoped," she dialogues with priggish parents or continues, "that the magic of Dr. omniscient maiden aunts. The fairy Johnson's name will not have power to world of childhood was very far away restore the reign of fairies." She is from the pedantic little people in an ardent Rousseauist, and she claims Sandford and Merton and Scientific to have refrained from all poetical alDialogues, and Charles Lamb mourns lusions which appeal to a child's imagover it. In a letter to Coleridge he ination in her Parents' Assistant. But writes, “Knowledge must now come even Rousseau and his disciples were to the child in the shape of Knowl- not strong enough to suppress the edge, instead of that beautiful interest fairy lore of England which served to
nourish our Lambs, Coleridges, Words- vian fairies. The oldest and best. worths, and also our Shakespeares, loved were the elves, pixies and trolls Spensers and Herricks; for the folk dear to the Danes and Saxons; for do lore of England has found its way into we not know from Sir Walter Scott her literature and has become immor- that "Jack, commonly called the tal.
Giant-killer, and Thomas Thumb The crown and glory of the English landed in England from the very same fairy world is the Midsummer Night's keels and warships which conveyed Dream, which is dear to us still, as it Hengist and Horsa and Ebba the was to our forefathers.
Saxon ?" Deep in the heart of primitive races, Then, centuries later, when the Purichildren, poets, and simple folk, lies tan influence began to decline, we took a craving for fairy tales and ro- to our hearts and homes those delightmances, and so treasures have been ful fairies which became so popular preserved for us, as old as the Pyra. in France in the eighteenth century; mids, which have endured through the for France was weary of long-windedi ages, preserved by peasants, poets and allegorical romances, and pined for children; for the wise and the worldly something short, amusing and strictly have been too much occupied with proper and the fairy tales met alt higher matters to think about these these, as well as all other reasonable things. And these treasures have been and unreasonable requirements, and handed down orally, or stored up in they very properly became the rage. Uttle blue and scarlet books, with a Perrault the philosopher, and Madame gold pattern running all over them, d'Aulnoy, introduced them to and these books have been sold at shores, and so we became possesseđ fairs, along with gilt gingerbreads, to of the fascinating, though somewhat simple folk, who wanted sentiment gruesome Bluebeard, and the romantic, along with their literature, for the and never-to-be-forgotten history of same reason as they wanted gilt on the White Oat. And the German fairies their gingerbread; and so they wept came our way too. These were less over the sorrows of Rosamond in her spiritual, perhaps, and certainly more bower and the Babes in the Wood, as mysterious and schauderhaft than their they told the stories again and again French neighbors. They were recomto their children and their children's mended to us by a learned philologist children. A book was a book in those named Grimm, to whom all German days, and a story was a story, and fairy lore was revealed. Then, too, the there were fairies and romances too wonders and richness of the glowing in our land.
East came to us, with enchantments, And a surprising number and vari- potentates, and powerful genii ety of fairies there were, and one Djinns imprisoned in jars, rings and wonders sorrowfully where they have lamps. all gone to. It may be that the amaz- Certainly no country das Dad ing multiplication of text-books and richer heritage in fairies, and perhaps schools which weighs us down in these none has made less use of such a heri. days has killed them all; for it is well tage in the schoolroom. known that text-books, and the wis- In defending the use of fairy tales dom of the schools, are fatal to the in the schoolroom, one would urge fairies. At any rate, there were in first that they are a powerful aid in England, in the old days, Saxon the training of the imagination; and fairies, Celtic fairies, and Scandina. imagination is strong in the little
child, and needs wise and generous of a certain class of little ones to be training, because in it the higher as- good, and go, like Goldmary, through pirations are rooted; moreover, imag- the golden gate and receive the shower ination is a powerful force in develop- of gold and roses, for the gold reing will power. Much of the selfish- mained on her hair forever, and the ness and inhumanity which exist in roses never faded from her cheeks; the world is due to deficient imagina- besides, she was always rich. “Did tion, rather than to badness of heart; you ever go through the golden gate?” and rightly directed imagination tends one infant asked me as I pictured to bring out the nobler side of human these glories; and when I sorrowfully nature, and give a charm to existence, replied “No," the babe remarked senthe like of which nothing else can tentiously, “you should have been give; for imagination is a heavenly, good then, like Goldmary.” But the if somewhat dangerous, gift, bestowed little one who can "take the wishes chiefly on women and children and out of its heart and project them on some men whom we call poets. It is a screen of fancy” gains faith and an the old fairy tales which appeal more idealizing tendency which remain after strongly than anything else to child- it has outgrown the fairy tales; for, as hood's imagination; then let us take Colonel Parker says, “Fairy stories them as the true mental food of in- are to the child like the parables of fancy, and be thankful.
the Master: they contain the seeds of These stories, again, awaken sym- truth, that will germinate and fructify pathy in the child, and extend his in the child's mind far better than knowledge of humanity. He enters truth grown to its full stature and eminto the feelings of the despised Cin- bodied in maxims and precepts." derella sitting among her ashes, he Unconsciously, too, for the most thrills with joy when she marries the part, the power of example is brought handsome prince, and he trembles to bear upon the child in these old with apprehension when the clock tales; for the command of the Master, strikes twelve and her rags return to “Go thou and do likewise," need not her. He goes forth courageously with be spoken to children. AS Charles Jack to kill his giants, and he glories Dickens says in speaking of fairy when the good and the true triumph, tales, Forbearance, courtesy, consideras they are bound to do in all whole- ation of the poor and aged, abhorrence
and honest fairy tales. He of tyranny and brute force-many learns, in short, to enter into the joy, such good things have been nourished the woes and the difficulties of others, in the child's heart by this powerful which is a worthy lesson, for, as aid." Wordsworth says of fairy tales:
The true power of example does not
lie in holding up trivial actions to be The child whose love is here at least slavishly copied, for we all know that doth reap
"imitation is suicide,” in small things One precious gain-that he forgets himself."
as in great. This is one reason why
the realistic children's stories of the Then, fairy tales arouse aspiration goody-goody type so often fail in their in the child and give him ideals. Crude purpose, and only succeed in making and material enough are these child- children pose, if indeed they succeed ish ideals, it is true, as in the desire in reaching them at all, like the little
? 1 "The Prelude," Book V.
: "Talks on Teaching."
seven who prayed that her dwarfs and the gnomes are gathering mother might become a drunkard in the treasures of the earth; and he order that she might reclaim her, as dives into the depths of the sea, where did the pious little Jenny of the story. the mermaids have reared their palThe same little girl used to try to go aces. Then there are valleys of diato sleep on the sofa, with her finger on monds, enchanted gardens, where the her favorite text in her Bible when apples are rubies and the plums toisbe heard people coming, because pazes, kingdoms in the air where one Jenny had a trick of going to sleep in sails on chariots through pink and this attitude, and her little world used pearly clouds, and beautiful meadows always to come in and admire her. at the bottom of wells where the Generations of the good little Georges apple-trees speak to Goldmary and the .and Jennies have given up their art- flowers smile at her. less little ghosts, and ceased mending But, it is urged, fairy tales are imtheir own clothes and prattling piously probable—as indeed they are—they .about it for the edification of other teach the child nothing, that is, no little boys and girls, and, alas! they solid facts. are all forgotten; but Red Riding If only a genius could arise, and Hood, Jack the Giant Killer, and the make England believe that the schoolSleeping Beauty will never die. They room is a place for training the child's belong to an imperishable golden age, heart and mind rather than stuffing and they go on forever, spurring on his head, we should probably hear less wondering babes to worthy effort. about the value of facts. Human de
The babes cannot, it is true, hope to velopment cannot take place on right imitate the doings of the immortal lines without depth and cordiality of Jack, any more than we may hope to feeling; and to be effective, early eduimitate the doings of Brutus or Portia, cation must get at, and cultivate, for times and circumstances have al- right, active, vital feeling. Education tered; but though the actions of our which is mainly formal and intellecheroes cannot be repeated, yet they tual is positively harmful, and narrowawaken within us that vigor of feel. ness of sympathy and hardness of dising upon which the actions are based. position result from the mind being
Fairy tales, too, prepare the child stored only with facts. for poetry. They form the beginnings To come back to our fairy tale. We of literature-indeed they are litera- shall find, if we look into it, at the ture, being “part of the current coin heart of the real old fairy tale a great of the world's intercourse." We can- universal truth, and it is this truth not all hope to be classical scholars, which gives the fairy tale its grip on but all may be steeped in folk-lore and the generations. heroic romance in childhood, when the Fairy tales are histories of human imagination is fresh and keen, and so nature, which does not change, as acquire a share of the old-world cul- much as would be expected, in a few ture.
thousand years. We are all persecuted The old fairy tales too are full of princesses, stupid ogres,
wicked the poetry of forest life and of unseen dwarfs and handsome princes, if only nature, and this satisfies the child's we were able to get to the bottom of sense of mystery, wonder and awe. each others' disguises; and it is beWith his wonder book he penetrates cause fairy tales are so true that they into the heart of the mountain, where, go on satisfying the heart of childhood in caves ribbed with bars of gold, the through the centuries.
What kind of fairy tales are to be foe, with his Robinson Crusoe; Swift, used in the schoolroom? is often asked. with his Gulliver's Travels; Thackeray,
And the answer is, only those with his Rose and the Ring; and never, worthy of the name of literature. And never must we forget Hans Andersen, these are: firstly, the fairy tale proper, that curious Danish genius, with the or nursery tale, which is the German soul of a woman and the heart of a Märchen; secondly, those stories which child. He, more than any other, has powerful pens threw off in happy mo- caught the spirit of the old world ments of fancy; and thirdly, Sagas. tales, and his whimsical simplicity apChildren readily appreciate what is peals to all children and all whose great, and in their hearts they despise hearts refuse to grow old. He underthe feeble little stories which are con- stands the child's sympathy with the stantly written down to them under entire universe; for trees, insects, the name of Kindergarten literature plants, nay, even the stars and the and the like. It is a tolerably safe moon, are the child's comrades, and rule to refuse to admit into the school- talk his language and listen to his conroom any fairy tales that might not be fidences. The limited mind of the considered classic.
mature reader can hardly retain its The fairy tales proper come to us sanity among Andersen's crowds of from a time when the world was storks, slugs, apple-trees, cats, hens, young, direct from the period to which swallows, green-peas, peg-tops, tin solthe child belongs. These folk tales diers, and gingerbread cakes, all of are the literature of simple people, to which converse with an astonishing whom everything is a symbol; and lucidity and an amazing individuality; every incident in the old round of joy, and they all think the child's thoughts, pain, birth, love and death has gath- talk his language, and see the world ered meaning for centuries. There is as he sees it. Andersen, too, never a beautiful simplicity and directness of outrages the ethics of the fairy-world, motive about these old tales which the as does the modern fairy tale, with its child loves. Thus we find the queen complex motives and fantastic imagin her parlor eating bread and honey, inings. He is always quaint, graceful;. and the king with his golden crown on and true to the canons of poetical jus-his head counting his bags of gold, tice, as laid down in all good fairy and the maid of honor fetching a pail tales. So let it be granted that all: of water. These stories, too, all end fairy stories written in strong, beautihappily, and this satisfies that craving ful, and suitable language, by greatı for poetical justice so strong in little writers may be safely put before chil.. children.
dren, and among these Andersen's The child's keen insight readily de- stories are preeminent. tects the ring of true gold, and those Then there are the Sagas. These are: stories which endure in this world, stories of definite beings, usually havapart from the folk stories, are those ing a definite locality assigned to which originated in powerful brains. them, who once really lived; for the
Perrault, the mathematician, wrote Saga treads earthly ways more than Blue Beard; Southey, the Three Bears; the fairy tale, and often minglès real' Goldsmith, probably, wrote Goody Two- historic fact with its romances. Dick Shoes; indeed, nobody else could have Whittington, Lady Godiva,. Robin Hood; written it, so why should we qualify and King Arthur: are stories of this the statement? Then there was Bun- class as well as the stories of Ulysses. yan, with his Pilgrim's Progress; De- and Siegfried.. Sagas: form the connect