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The Old-Fashioned Fairy Book

Constance Cary Harrison

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Book Overview: 

And now, mamma, until your tea is ready, we know what you must do," said the children, in a breath. "Tell us a story—a 'real, truly' fairy tale, about a giant and a dwarf, lots and lots of fairies, a prince and a beautiful princess with hair to her very feet, a champion with a magic sword, a dragon-chariot, a witch dressed in snake-skin—and, if you can, an ogre. Don't punish anybody but the witch and the ogre; and please don't have any moral, only let everybody 'live in peace and die in a pot of grease,' at the end of it." "To be sure, we know most of mamma's stories by heart," said the sage elder of nine. "If she could only make up some new ones that aren't in any of our books! Or else, mamma, tell us something you heard a little bit of, long, long ago, from your nurse, and then make up the rest. But whatever one you tell, we'll be sure to like it anyhow." The stories told, the mother fell to musing, and the result is the little book here presented to the judgment of children other than her own—a few new fairy tales, on the old, old pattern!

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . my pretty toads, and bats, and serpents.[32] That silly father of hers, for example! He seemed an honest fellow, but what should he do, when he thought no one was looking, but pluck one of my choicest ruby roses to carry back to Hilda. Hum! much likelihood there is that Hilda ever finds out where he is hidden, after a crime like that!"

The Grandmother of the Gnomes seemed to have worked herself up into such an angry state, that Hilda dared not give any sign of waking. So she lay, still as a mouse, till the old couple had laid across her couch the new robe for next day, and trotted off. Then, gliding swiftly from her bed, the girl followed them, down a long green alley of the garden, to a grassy bank she had often noticed. There, putting her hand upon a trap-door, half hidden from sight by a mass of vines, the old crone knocked thrice, saying, "Open to the Grandmother of the Gnomes!"

The door opened, and behind it was a narrow passage-way guarded by. . . Read More