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A series of
BALLADS & METRICAL TALES
FAIRY MYTHOLOGY OF EUROPE.
“ Love them that honest be,
And help them in necessitie.”
LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, LONGMANS, & ROBERTS.
The right of translation is reserved.
“ I would not for any quantity of gold part with the wonderful tales which I have retained from my earliest childhood, or have met with in my progress through life.”
The Author has been led to the composition of this Work chiefly by the fact, that while Fairy Lore possesses a charm and attraction above all others for young people, and while its value and importance as a means of moral instruction are fully recognised, much of our Fairy Literature, so eagerly longed for and so greedily devoured, is but moral poison,- weakened by unmeaning extravagances, polluted by indelicate allusions, and disfigured by purposeless cruelties and crimes.
The Fairy Mythology has always appeared to him to present peculiar advantages as a medium for virtuous teaching, consisting as it does of fictions unequalled in beauty and interest when viewed as individual conceptions, perfect and complete as an elaborated series, and strangely wonderful as forming a system of semi-belief once common to all countries and all races of men. With this view, he has aimed at a series of Tales of a pure moral character, in that form of composition which he considers the most effective,— Ballads of varied structure and rhythm. He has devoted one to each of the principal personages of the Fairy Family, choosing a subject in other respects of strong human interest, and characteristic of the people among whom the scene is laid ; and he has made it an object of special care, that the moral shall be worked out in the development of the tale—not tacked to the end of it, to stand in pointed but unamiable antithesis to all that has gone before. But, while ever keeping this higher object in view, he has earnestly endeavoured to preserve the true mythologic character of the various personages, their powers, attributes and dispositions, habits, personal appearance and costumes; so that the Work should fulfil the promise on the title-page-illustrate the Fairy Mythology of Europe.
Much of the material thus employed is drawn from a store collected by the Author in early life from oral tradition, the rest from the works of Keightley, Grimm, Mallet, Thorpe, Scott, Leyden, Southey, Chambers, and other well-known writers on Fairy Lore. He has not cumbered his pages with references to his authorities,