Gateway to the Classics: The Oak-Tree Fairy Book by Clifton Johnson
The Oak-Tree Fairy Book by  Clifton Johnson

Front Matter

[Book Cover]

[One Condition]


[Title Page]

[Copyright Page]

Introductory Note

Here are the old favorites in a version especially suited for the home fireside. The interest, the charm, and all the sweetness have been retained; but the savagery, distressing details, and excessive pathos have been dropped. Surely our little people are better off without some of the sentiments of that barbaric past when the tales originated. Felix Adler, in his notable work on "The Moral Education of Children," years ago appealed for just such a version as this, wherein there should be "less falsehood, gluttony, drunkenness, and evil in general" than in the usual tellings, and from which "malicious stepmothers and cruel fathers should be excluded." The same need has been widely felt by parents and teachers. "The Oak-Tree Fairy Book" supplies this want, and can be read aloud or placed in the hands of children with entire confidence. The changes are not, however, very radical in most instances, and I have made no alteration in incidents where there did not seem to be an ethical necessity for so doing.

The first sixteen tales in this book have a special claim to the attention of American readers, for they were picked up in this country. Two or three of them are to be found in nearly all our fairy-tale collections, and it would not be safe to say that any of them originated here; yet there are none of the sixteen but that differ in an interesting way from the usual versions, and most of them are quite unfamiliar to the present generation. I am indebted for them to friends and correspondents and to the American Journal of Folk Lore. Readers acquainted with similar tales not in the ordinary collections will confer a favor if they will communicate with me.

Hadley, Mass.


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