It is almost impossible to envision what childhood would be like without the enchanting world of fairyland. Underground lands where the sun shines, wolves disguised as rams, giants and dwarfs, monsters and magicians, fairies and ogres—these are the companions who thrill young boys and girls of all lands and times, as Andrew Lang's phenomenally successful collections of stories have proved. From the day that they were first printed, the Lang fairy tale books of many colors have entertained thousands of boys and girls, as they have also brought pleasure to the many parents who have read these unforgettable classics to their children.
In The Lilac Book, a large number of the tales-including a variation on the beauty and the beast story called "Brown Bear of Norway"—are from Irish sources; the Welsh Mabinogion provided the Arthurian legend of "The Winning of Olwen; and other tales are from the more exotic traditions of India, Portugal, Brittany, and Scandinavia.
All in all, this collection contains 33 stories, all narrated in the clear, lively prose for which Lang was famous. Not only are Lang's generally conceded to be the best English versions of standard stories, his collections are the richest and widest in range. His position as one of England's foremost folklorists as well as his first-rate literary abilities makes his collections unmatchable in the English Language.
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