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A Road to Fairyland

Nature volume 119, page 313 (26 February 1927) | Download Citation



“A ROAD TO FAIRYLAND” is dedicated to “all children between the ages of seven and seventy,” and the author has indeed provided a variety in her twelve stories in which something should please her clientele at every stage within these limits of their years. Here and there we catch an echo of the folk tale; but the author has a subtle power of invention and a felicity of phrasing, as well as a humour, now delicate, now broad, which have carried her well on the way to success in the bold and risky undertaking of writing fairy tales. One feature in these stories may be held by some to be open to question. In most of them a moral is to be discerned, and sometimes it is explicitly stated in the good old-fashioned way at the end. The moral has long been condemned; but the healthy normal child does usually love a moral. It is infancy's equivalent to the triumph of virtue in the melodrama of days gone by. Of individual stories, the one with which the book opens, “The Princess,” is perhaps the best. It exhibits a knowledge of human nature and a philosophy which makes the best of things that lift it to a higher plane. Paloeontologists and metaphysicians with a sense of humour-if there are such-will appreciate the picture of a sabre-toothed tiger in Kent's Cavern being helped to his human dinner by a stalactite, which in so doing sacrifices its devotion to the absolute to gratify a desire for revenge on the human race. It will be seen that the author is something of a philosopher in the style of Andersen —no mean model.

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