In response to a demand for stories and rhymes, adapted to the Kindergarten and home, this collection has been made. It includes typical stories of all classes—Fairy tales, Nature stories, and those emphasizing particular virtues. The fairy tales have become immortal by their antiquity; no age or country can claim them as their own. They are a part of all ages and times; they seem to have no known origin and while man exists, the truths foreshadowed through them remain the same.
We return grateful acknowledgment to "The Century Co." for permission to use, "The Adopted Chicken" (Yellow Foot); to "The Youth's Companion," for "How Two Looked at a Shower," and to the Kindergarten Magazine for "Who Likes The Rain."
To Mrs. Isabel McCulloch we owe thanks for the following rhymes, "Pitter-Patter," "Robin Red Breast and Merry Brown Thrush," "Autumn Talk," "A Greeting to Santa Claus," "Snow Bird," "Froebel's Birthday Song," "Children and the Moon," and "Good-Bye."
Thanks to Miss Ida Richeson for "Song of the Seasons" and "A Crown of Froebel's Jewels;" to Miss Louise Miller for "The Three Brothers," and "Happy Children;" to Miss Nellie Flynn for the story, "Friedrich Froebel;" to Laura E. Toms, for "Bab's Thanksgiving," and to Miss M. E. Meisinger for "Singer's Lesson."
We have included in this collection a number of stories originally selected by Miss Susan E. Blow, for the St. Louis Kindergartens.
We apologize for using any story or rhyme without the consent of the Author or Publisher, but found it impossible to find out to whom, or where to write for same. If there has been any infringement it is wholly unintentional.
St. Louis, Mo.
"Let us learn from our children, let us give heed to the gentle admonition of their life, to the silent demands of their minds.
"One of the most difficult tasks is the art of telling stories, and yet one of the most important arts the parent and educator should strive to possess; for have we not seen and heard children asking again and again, to have the simplest story repeated, by the one who has proved his art. 'I have told it two or three times'—'that makes no difference, tell it again.' He obeys; see how eagerly his hearers note every word.
"The power that has scarcely germinated in the child's mind, is seen by him in the legend or tale, a perfect plant, filled with the most delicious blossoms and fruits. The very remoteness of the comparison with his own vague hopes, expands heart and soul, strengthens the mind, unfolds life in freedom and power.
"This is the chief reason why children are so fond of stories—the more so, when these are told as having actually occurred, or as lying within the reach of probability, for which, however, there are scarcely any limits for a child. If the story concerns other men, other circumstances, other times and places, nay, if it impart a language to the silent objects in nature, the hearer seeks his own image, he beholds it, and no one knows that he sees it.
"As in colors, it is not variegated hues that charm the child, but their deeper, invisible, spiritual meaning; so he is attracted to the legend and fairy tale, not by the varied and gay shapes that move about in them, but by their spiritual life, which furnishes him with a measure for his own life and spirit, by the fact that they furnish him direct intuition of free life, of a force spontaneously active in accordance with its own law.
"The desire for special stories will then very clearly reveal to the observer what is going on in the inner-most mind of the child, though doubtless the latter may not be himself conscious of it. Whatever he feels in his heart, whatever lives in his soul, whatever he cannot express in his own words, he would fain have others express.
"Therefore ear and heart open to the genuine story-teller, as the blossoms open to the sun of spring, and to the vernal rain. Mind breathes mind; power feels power and absorbs it, as it were. The telling of stories refreshes the mind as a bath refreshes the body; it gives exercise to the intellect and its powers; it tests the judgment and the feelings.
"With high esteem and full of respect, I greet a genuine story-teller; with intense gratitude I grasp him by the hand. However, better greeting than mine is his lot; behold the joyful faces, the sparkling eyes, the merry shouts that welcome him; see the blooming circle of delighted children crowd around him, like a wreath of fresh flowers, and branches, around the bard of joy and delight."—Froebel.
"Children possess an unestimated sensibility to whatever is deep or high, in imagination or feeling, so long as it is simple likewise. It is only the artificial and the complex that bewilders them."—Hawthorne.
"Imaginative minds cling to their images and do not wish them rashly rendered into prose reality, as children resent your showing them that their doll Cinderella is nothing but pine wood and rags; and my young scholar does not wish to know what the leopard, the wolf or Lucia signifies in Dante's Inferno, but prefers to keep their veil on."—Emerson.
"But of all the changes taking place, the most significant is the growing desire to make the acquirement of knowledge pleasurable rather than painful—a desire based on the more or less distinct perception that at each age the intellectual action which a child likes is a healthful one for it; and conversely. There is a spreading opinion that the rise of an appetite for any kind of knowledge implies that the unfolding mind has become fit to assimilate it, and needs it for the purposes of growth; and that on the other hand, the disgust felt towards any kind of knowledge is a sign either that it is prematurely presented, or that it is presented in an indigestible form. Hence the efforts to make early education amusing, and all education interesting. Hence the lectures on the value of play. Hence the defense of nursery rhymes and fairy tales."—Herbert Spencer.