Gateway to the Classics: A Child's Book of Stories by Penrhyn W. Coussens
A Child's Book of Stories by  Penrhyn W. Coussens

Front Matter

[Front Cover]



[Title Page]

[Copyright Page]

[Copyright Page]



T HE primary idea of this collection of well-known and much-loved tales is to bring together under one cover those stories which have won a most assured place in literature for children between the ages of four and nine.

The compiler has at different times had occasion to look up many of the tales contained in this collection, and quite frequently the task has been long and tedious. Many a librarian and teacher has sought his assistance, having failed, after exhausting all the means at her command, to locate some favorite story. To all in such case it is to be hoped that this volume will be of help.

Stories for children should appeal especially to the imagination and its development, and the fairy or wonder tale is a most potent means to this end. That this has been recognized from the earliest times is proved by the fact that the original sources of many of the stories collected by Charles Perrault (published under the title of Mother Goose's Nursery Tales), the Brothers Grimm, Mme. D'Aulnoy, Charles Marelles, Asbjörnsen and Moe, Hans Christian Andersen, and others, are lost in the shades of antiquity.

The fairy tales that have lived through the ages have done so because of their real merit. In most of them is evidenced the kindergarten idea of presenting something of real value, usually a stimulant to the moral sense, in a sugar-coated form. In any event, they are a source of unbounded delight to the child, and cruel indeed are the parents or guardians who, from a misguided sense of duty, deliberately exclude from the reading selected for the children committed to their care, everything that savors of "manifest untruth." It is to be regretted that there are many such unwise, not to say unkind, persons.

It is perhaps worthy of note that Charles Perrault, the Countess d'Aulnoy, the Brothers Grimm, and others whose names are so closely associated with the fairy tale, are remembered solely on that account, and not by reason of any other contribution they may have made to the literature of their periods.

Much attention is now given by educators to the study of fairy and folk tales, and their value to the child as a help towards his greater mental development. Heretofore this has been left to the parent, who, probably, has utilized this means merely to provide the child with amusement and pleasure, and without any idea of its educational possibilities.

Who of us in relating to a child the exploits of "Jack and the Bean-Stalk," or "Tom Thumb " or "Jack the Giant Killer," is not carried back to the time when he sat himself in his mother's lap, listening with rapt attention to the unfolding of the story? One's own childhood days are brought back vividly, and, if for no other reason than this, let us be grateful for the fairy tale.

In this volume a wide range of authorities has been consulted, and every effort made to give the best version of each tale.


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