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The Grey Fairy Book

Andrew Lang

Book Overview: 

The tales in the Grey Fairy Book are derived from many countries—Lithuania, various parts of Africa, Germany, France, Greece, and other regions of the world. They have been translated and adapted by Mrs. Dent, Mrs. Lang, Miss Eleanor Sellar, Miss Blackley, and Miss hang. 'The Three Sons of Hali' is from the last century 'Cabinet des Fees,' a very large collection. The French author may have had some Oriental original before him in parts; at all events he copied the Eastern method of putting tale within tale, like the Eastern balls of carved ivory. The stories, as usual, illustrate the method of popular fiction. A certain number of incidents are shaken into many varying combinations, like the fragments of coloured glass in the kaleidoscope. Probably the possible combinations, like possible musical combinations, are not unlimited in number, but children may be less sensitive in the matter of fairies than Mr. John Stuart Mill was as regards music. (Summary from the preface)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Only that I must be sure to add salt.'

'Well, add salt.'

'Yes, I have done so,' said she.

The ogre was soon sound asleep again, when the man's flesh called out a second time:

'Hist! Hist!
A man lies in the kist!'

And the lamb's flesh answered:

'He is your brother,
And cousin of the other.'

'What did it say, Dschemila?' asked the ogre.

'Only that I must add pepper.'

'Well, add pepper.'

'Yes, I have done so,' said she.

The ogre had had a long day's hunting, and could not keep himself awake. In a moment his eyes were tight shut, and then the man's flesh called out for the third time:

'Hist! Hist!
A man lies in the kist.'

And the lamb's flesh answered:

'He is your brother,
And cousin of the other.'

'What did it say, Dschemila?' asked the ogre.

'Only that it was ready, and that I had better take i. . . Read More

Community Reviews

July 2023 reread:
This one will never be high on my list of favorite fairy books, but it does have some enjoyable stories.

The Magician's Horse is one of those male Cinderella variants. It is not too interesting, but I do like stories in which animals help the heroes/heroines.

The Queen of the Flowery

This one has a fair variety. A number of Arabic -- or arabesque -- ones, some of which I recognized from a more literal translation (this turns ghouls into witches and ogres). Some prolonged literary ones, which were not to my taste. I particularly liked "The Story of Bensurdatu", "The Magician's Ho

Always fascinating discoveries -Ketke's storehouse gets raided in fine style this time around as does Cabinet des Fees. Always maddening omissions -where the Hell did The Sunchild come from? Always amazing that this series was aimed at AND LOVED BY children.

Did not like this one at all. Hopefully the next one is better.

I got this a year ago along with The Olive Fairy Book. Unfortunately for me, my copy doesn't include illustrations and on some of the pages the quotation marks are messed-up. (It probably came from a cheapo publishing house.) Despite that, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit. There's a wide variety

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