About This Book
Near the sea coast of the east of Africa, there dwelt, once upon a time,
a man and his wife. They had two children, a son and a daughter, whom
they loved very much, and, like parents in other countries, they often
talked of the fine marriages the young people would make some day. Out
there both boys and girls marry early, and very soon, it seemed to the
mother, a message was sent by a rich man on the other side of the great
hills offering a fat herd of oxen in exchange for the girl. Everyone in
the house and in the village rejoiced, and the maiden was despatched to
her new home. When all was quiet again the father said to his son:
"Now that we own such a splendid troop of oxen you had better hasten
and get yourself a wife, lest some illness should overtake them.
Already we have seen in the villages round about one or two damsels
whose parents would gladly part with them for less than half the herd.
Therefore tell us which you like best, and we will buy her for you."
But the son answered: '"Not so; the maidens I have seen do not please
me. If, indeed, I must marry, let me travel and find a wife for myself."
"It shall be as you wish," said the parents; "but if by-and-by trouble
should come of it, it will be your fault and not ours."
Thirty-three marvelous tales, many of which come from Africa and the
About Andrew Lang
Scotsman Andrew Lang was a scholar, an anthropologist, and a writer. In
addition to authoring several novels and histories, and a volume of poetry
and ballads, he was a serious student of world folklore. From 1889 through
1907 he collected and edited numerous folk tales and fairy tales from
France, England, Germany, Scandinavia, and Greece. His books of fairy
tales are a staple of all generations of children (and adults.)
His "Blue Fairy Book" (which alone includes over 30 classic fairy tales),
"Red Fairy Book," "Lilac Fairy Book," and many others have introduced
half a dozen generations of children and adults to the marvelous
happily-ever-after stories of handsome princes and beautiful maidens,
wicked witches and kindly fairies that have shaped the culture of the
world we live in.