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Transcriber's Note

Illustration captions in {brackets} have been added by the transcriber
from the list of illustrations, for the convenience of the reader.


Edited by

With Numerous Illustrations by

_Crown Edition_








_All Rights Reserved_

First Edition August 1906
Reprinted March 1911, August 1914
January 1917, February 1919, May 1922
January 1925, November 1927, August 1929
February 1937


Crown Edition

Plates and 63 Illustrations._

THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. _With 4 Coloured Plates and 128

THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. _With 8 Coloured Plates and 43

THE BROWN FAIRY BOOK. _With 8 Coloured Plates and 42

THE CRIMSON FAIRY BOOK. _With 8 Coloured Plates and 45

THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. _With 4 Coloured Plates and 100

THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. _With 4 Coloured Plates and 56

THE LILAC FAIRY BOOK. _With 6 Coloured Plates and 46

THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK. _With 8 Coloured Plates and 43

THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK. _With 8 Coloured Plates and 50

THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. _With 4 Coloured Plates and 68

THE RED BOOK OF HEROES. _By Mrs. Lang. With 8 Coloured
Plates and 40 Illustrations._

THE RED FAIRY BOOK. _With 4 Coloured Plates and 91

THE VIOLET FAIRY BOOK. _With 8 Coloured Plates and 59

THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. _With 4 Coloured Plates and 105



The children who read fairy books, or have fairy books read to them,
do not read prefaces, and the parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, who
give fairy books to their daughters, nieces, and _cousines_, leave
prefaces unread. For whom, then, are prefaces written? When an author
publishes a book 'out of his own head,' he writes the preface for his
own pleasure. After reading over his book in print - to make sure that
all the 'u's' are not printed as 'n's,' and all the 'n's' as 'u's' in
the proper names - then the author says, mildly, in his preface, what
he thinks about his own book, and what he means it to prove - if he
means it to prove anything - and why it is not a better book than it
is. But, perhaps, nobody reads prefaces except other authors; and
critics, who hope that they will find enough in the preface to enable
them to do without reading any of the book.

This appears to be the philosophy of prefaces in general, and perhaps
authors might be more daring and candid than they are with advantage,
and write regular criticisms of their own books in their prefaces, for
nobody can be so good a critic of himself as the author - if he has a
sense of humour. If he has not, the less he says in his preface the

These Fairy Books, however, are not written by the Editor, as he has
often explained, 'out of his own head.' The stories are taken from
those told by grannies to grandchildren in many countries and in many
languages - French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Gaelic, Icelandic,
Cherokee, African, Indian, Australian, Slavonic, Eskimo, and what not.
The stories are not literal, or word by word translations, but have
been altered in many ways to make them suitable for children. Much has
been left out in places, and the narrative has been broken up into
conversations, the characters telling each other how matters stand,
and speaking for themselves, as children, and some older people,
prefer them to do. In many tales, fairly cruel and savage deeds are
done, and these have been softened down as much as possible; though it
is impossible, even if it were desirable, to conceal the circumstance
that popular stories were never intended to be tracts and nothing
else. Though they usually take the side of courage and kindness, and
the virtues in general, the old story-tellers admire successful
cunning as much as Homer does in the Odyssey. At least, if the cunning
hero, human or animal, is the weaker, like Odysseus, Brer Rabbit, and
many others, the story-teller sees little in intellect but superior
cunning, by which tiny Jack gets the better of the giants. In the
fairy tales of no country are 'improper' incidents common, which is to
the credit of human nature, as they were obviously composed mainly for
children. It is not difficult to get rid of this element when it does
occur in popular tales.

The old puzzle remains a puzzle - why do the stories of the remotest
people so closely resemble each other? Of course, in the immeasurable
past, they have been carried about by conquering races, and learned by
conquering races from vanquished peoples. Slaves carried far from home
brought their stories with them into captivity. Wanderers, travellers,
shipwrecked men, merchants, and wives stolen from alien tribes have
diffused the stories; gipsies and Jews have peddled them about; Roman
soldiers of many different races, moved here and there about the
Empire, have trafficked in them. From the remotest days men have been
wanderers, and wherever they went their stories accompanied them. The
slave trade might take a Greek to Persia, a Persian to Greece; an
Egyptian woman to Phoenicia; a Babylonian to Egypt; a Scandinavian
child might be carried with the amber from the Baltic to the Adriatic;
or a Sidonian to Ophir, wherever Ophir may have been; while the
Portuguese may have borne their tales to South Africa, or to Asia, and
thence brought back other tales to Egypt. The stories wandered
wherever the Buddhist missionaries went, and the earliest French
_voyageurs_ told them to the Red Indians. These facts help to account
for the sameness of the stories everywhere; and the uniformity of
human fancy in early societies must be the cause of many other

In this volume there are stories from the natives of Rhodesia,
collected by Mr. Fairbridge, who speaks the native language, and one
is brought by Mr. Cripps from another part of Africa, Uganda. Three
tales from the Punjaub were collected and translated by Major
Campbell. Various savage tales, which needed a good deal of editing,
are derived from the learned pages of the 'Journal of the
Anthropological Institute.' With these exceptions, and 'The Magic
Book,' translated by Mrs. Pedersen, from 'Eventyr fra Jylland,' by Mr.
Ewald Tang Kristensen (Stories from Jutland), all the tales have been
done, from various sources, by Mrs. Lang, who has modified, where it
seemed desirable, all the narratives.


_The Story of the Hero Makóma_ 1

_The Magic Mirror_ 16

_Story of the King who Would See Paradise_ 24

_How Isuro the Rabbit Tricked Gudu_ 29

_Ian, the Soldier's Son_ 37

_The Fox and the Wolf_ 56

_How Ian Direach Got the Blue Falcon_ 63

_The Ugly Duckling_ 79

_The Two Caskets_ 90

_The Goldsmith's Fortune_ 106

_The Enchanted Wreath_ 110

_The Foolish Weaver_ 124

_The Clever Cat_ 126

_The Story of Manus_ 141

_Pinkel the Thief_ 148

_The Adventures of a Jackal_ 160

_The Adventures of the Jackal's Eldest Son_ 167

_The Adventures of the Younger Son of the Jackal_ 173

_The Three Treasures of the Giants_ 177

_The Rover of the Plain_ 190

_The White Doe_ 201

_The Girl-Fish_ 225

_The Owl and the Eagle_ 236

_The Frog and the Lion Fairy_ 241

_The Adventures of Covan the Brown-haired_ 265

_The Princess Bella-Flor_ 280

_The Bird of Truth_ 292

_The Mink and the Wolf_ 307

_Adventures of an Indian Brave_ 313

_How the Stalos Were Tricked_ 319

_Andras Baive_ 329

_The White Slipper_ 335

_The Magic Book_ 349



_Ian and the Blue Falcon_ _Frontispiece_

_The Three Maidens Sitting on the Rocks_ _Facing page_ 38

_'Ashes, Ashes!' Twittered the Sparrows_ 98

_Standing in the Shelter of a Tree, He Watched
Her a Long While_ 114

_The Queen and the Crab_ 202

_The Crown Returns to the Queen of the Fishes_ 234

_How José Found the Princess Bella-Flor_ 288

_The Princess Imprisoned in the Summer-house_ 356


_Makóma Leaps into the Pool of Crocodiles_ _Facing page_ 2

_Makóma Gets Entangled by a Hair of Chin-débou
Máu-giri_ 8

_Makóma in the Hands of Sákatirína_ 12

_The Knight and the Raven_ 38

_Ian Breaks the Giant's Chain_ 44

_The Princess Finds Herself a Prisoner on the Ship_ 68

_How Ian Direach Returned Home, and How His
Stepmother Fell as a Bundle of Sticks_ 74

_'That is an End of You,' She Said. But She Was
Wrong, for it Was only the Beginning_ 90

_The Princess Returns from the Sea_ 120

_The Giants Find Jack in the Treasure Room_ 182

_The Uninvited Fairy_ 204

_How the Queen Met the Lion-Fairy_ 242

_The King on his Dragon Fights his Way through the
Monsters to the Queen and Muffette_ 258

_Doran-Donn Brings the Salmon to Covan the
Brown-Haired_ 276

_'We Never Waste Time When We Are Helping Others'_ 284

_'Who Are You who Dare to Knock at my Door?'_ 298

_The Little Boy Sees the Stalo in the Wood_ 320


_Makóma Throws his Hammer at the Fire-eater_ 7

_Gopáni-Kúfa Sees a Strange Sight_ 17

_Shasása Hides the Mirror_ 21

_No One Knows What Was there Shown to the King_ 25

_The Old King Sees Himself Reflected in the Shields of
the Bodyguard_ 28

_Gudu Drops a Stone into the Water_ 30

_'Where Did You Get that from?' Asked Isuro_ 31

_How Gudu Danced and the Bones Rattled_ 35

_Ian Finds the Youngest Sister_ 43

_The Seven Big Women Fall over the Crag_ 72

_She Found Sitting Round Her a Whole Circle of Cats_ 95

_'Take the Black! Take the Black!' Cried the Cats_ 100

_Three Little Doves Were Seated on the Handle of
the Axe_ 111

_The Stepmother Tries to Drown the Princess_ 116

_The Jew Brings the Jewels to the Princess_ 130

_I Go to Seek my Fortune Alone_ 136

_The Cat Lets Fall the Stone_ 139

_How Manus Got the Lion's Cub_ 145

_Pinkel Brings the Witch's Lantern to the King_ 151

_Pinkel Steals the Witch's Goat_ 156

_The Brothers Ill-treat Poor Jack_ 180

_The Rover of the Plain Does the Girl's Work_ 193

_Last of All She Sang in a Low Voice a Dirge over
the Rover of the Plain_ 197

_For a Minute They Looked at Each Other_ 219

_'A Small Dragon Crept in and Terrified Her'_ 249

_Ardan Pursues the Golden Cock and the Silver Hen_ 269

_The King Jumps into the Cauldron_ 290

_How the Boy Found the Bird of Truth_ 303

_The Mink is Very Rude to the Grandmother Wolf_ 309

_Andras Baive Shoots the Stalo_ 333

_Balancin's Delight at the White Slipper_ 338

_Gilguerillo Falls in Love with Princess Diamantina_ 344

_'Just as He Was Going to Strike'_ 353



_From the Senna (Oral Tradition)_

Once upon a time, at the town of Senna on the banks of the Zambesi,
was born a child. He was not like other children, for he was very tall
and strong; over his shoulder he carried a big sack, and in his hand
an iron hammer. He could also speak like a grown man, but usually he
was very silent.

One day his mother said to him: 'My child, by what name shall we know

And he answered: 'Call all the head men of Senna here to the river's
bank.' And his mother called the head men of the town, and when they
had come he led them down to a deep black pool in the river where all
the fierce crocodiles lived.

'O great men!' he said, while they all listened, 'which of you will
leap into the pool and overcome the crocodiles?' But no one would come
forward. So he turned and sprang into the water and disappeared.

The people held their breath, for they thought: 'Surely the boy is
bewitched and throws away his life, for the crocodiles will eat him!'
Then suddenly the ground trembled, and the pool, heaving and swirling,
became red with blood, and presently the boy rising to the surface
swam on shore.

But he was no longer just a boy! He was stronger than any man and very
tall and handsome, so that the people shouted with gladness when they
saw him.

'Now, O my people!' he cried waving his hand, 'you know my name - I am
Makóma, "the Greater"; for have I not slain the crocodiles in the pool
where none would venture?'

Then he said to his mother: 'Rest gently, my mother, for I go to make
a home for myself and become a hero.' Then, entering his hut, he took
Nu-éndo, his iron hammer, and throwing the sack over his shoulder, he
went away.

Makóma crossed the Zambesi, and for many moons he wandered towards the
north and west until he came to a very hilly country where, one day,
he met a huge giant making mountains.

'Greeting,' shouted Makóma, 'who are you?'

'I am Chi-éswa-mapíri, who makes the mountains,' answered the giant,
'and who are you?'

'I am Makóma, which signifies "greater,"' answered he.

'Greater than who?' asked the giant.

'Greater than you!' answered Makóma.

The giant gave a roar and rushed upon him. Makóma said nothing, but
swinging his great hammer, Nu-éndo, he struck the giant upon the head.

He struck him so hard a blow that the giant shrank into quite a little
man, who fell upon his knees saying: 'You are indeed greater than I, O
Makóma; take me with you to be your slave!' So Makóma picked him up
and dropped him into the sack that he carried upon his back.

He was greater than ever now, for all the giant's strength had gone
into him; and he resumed his journey, carrying his burden with as
little difficulty as an eagle might carry a hare.

Before long he came to a country broken up with huge stones and
immense clods of earth. Looking over one of the heaps he saw a giant
wrapped in dust dragging out the very earth and hurling it in handfuls
on either side of him.


'Who are you,' cried Makóma, 'that pulls up the earth in this way?'

'I am Chi-dúbula-táka,' said he, 'and I am making the river-beds.'

'Do you know who I am?' said Makóma. 'I am he that is called

'Greater than who?' thundered the giant.

'Greater than you!' answered Makóma.

With a shout, Chi-dúbula-táka seized a great clod of earth and
launched it at Makóma. But the hero had his sack held over his left
arm and the stones and earth fell harmlessly upon it, and, tightly
gripping his iron hammer, he rushed in and struck the giant to the
ground. Chi-dúbula-táka grovelled before him, all the while growing
smaller and smaller; and when he had become a convenient size Makóma
picked him up and put him into the sack beside Chi-éswa-mapíri.

He went on his way even greater than before, as all the river-maker's
power had become his; and at last he came to a forest of bao-babs and
thorn trees. He was astonished at their size, for every one was full
grown and larger than any trees he had ever seen, and close by he saw
Chi-gwísa-míti, the giant who was planting the forest.

Chi-gwísa-míti was taller than either of his brothers, but Makóma was
not afraid and called out to him: 'Who are you, O Big One?'

'I,' said the giant, 'am Chi-gwísa-míti, and I am planting these
bao-babs and thorns as food for my children the elephants.'

'Leave off!' shouted the hero, 'for I am Makóma, and would like to
exchange a blow with thee!'

The giant, plucking up a monster bao-bab by the roots, struck heavily
at Makóma; but the hero sprang aside, and as the weapon sank deep into
the soft earth, whirled Nu-éndo the hammer round his head and felled
the giant with one blow.

So terrible was the stroke that Chi-gwísa-míti shrivelled up as the
other giants had done; and when he had got back his breath he begged
Makóma to take him as his servant. 'For,' said he, 'it is honourable
to serve a man so great as thou.'

Makóma, after placing him in his sack, proceeded upon his journey, and
travelling for many days he at last reached a country so barren and
rocky that not a single living thing grew upon it - everywhere reigned
grim desolation. And in the midst of this dead region he found a man
eating fire.

'What are you doing?' demanded Makóma.

'I am eating fire,' answered the man, laughing; 'and my name is
Chi-ídea-móto, for I am the flame-spirit, and can waste and destroy
what I like.'

'You are wrong,' said Makóma; 'for I am Makóma, who is "greater" than
you - and you cannot destroy me!'

The fire-eater laughed again, and blew a flame at Makóma. But the hero
sprang behind a rock - just in time, for the ground upon which he had
been standing was turned to molten glass, like an overbaked pot, by
the heat of the flame-spirit's breath.

Then the hero flung his iron hammer at Chi-ídea-móto, and, striking
him, it knocked him helpless; so Makóma placed him in the sack,
Woro-nówu, with the other great men that he had overcome.

And now, truly, Makóma was a very great hero; for he had the strength
to make hills, the industry to lead rivers over dry wastes, foresight
and wisdom in planting trees, and the power of producing fire when he

Wandering on he arrived one day at a great plain, well watered and
full of game; and in the very middle of it, close to a large river,
was a grassy spot, very pleasant to make a home upon.

Makóma was so delighted with the little meadow that he sat down under
a large tree, and removing the sack from his shoulder, took out all
the giants and set them before him. 'My friends,' said he, 'I have
travelled far and am weary. Is not this such a place as would suit a
hero for his home? Let us then go, to-morrow, to bring in timber to
make a kraal.'


So the next day Makóma and the giants set out to get poles to build
the kraal, leaving only Chi-éswa-mapíri to look after the place and
cook some venison which they had killed. In the evening, when they
returned, they found the giant helpless and tied to a tree by one
enormous hair!

'How is it,' said Makóma, astonished, 'that we find you thus bound and

'O Chief,' answered Chi-éswa-mapíri, 'at midday a man came out of the
river; he was of immense stature, and his grey moustaches were of such
length that I could not see where they ended! He demanded of me "Who
is thy master?" And I answered: "Makóma, the greatest of heroes." Then
the man seized me, and pulling a hair from his moustache, tied me to
this tree - even as you see me.'

Makóma was very wroth, but he said nothing, and drawing his
finger-nail across the hair (which was as thick and strong as palm
rope) cut it, and set free the mountain-maker.

The three following days exactly the same thing happened, only each
time with a different one of the party; and on the fourth day Makóma
stayed in camp when the others went to cut poles, saying that he would
see for himself what sort of man this was that lived in the river and
whose moustaches were so long that they extended beyond men's sight.

So when the giants had gone he swept and tidied the camp and put some
venison on the fire to roast. At midday, when the sun was right
overhead, he heard a rumbling noise from the river, and looking up he
saw the head and shoulders of an enormous man emerging from it. And
behold! right down the river-bed and up the river-bed, till they faded
into the blue distance, stretched the giant's grey moustaches!

'Who are you?' bellowed the giant, as soon as he was out of the water.

'I am he that is called Makóma,' answered the hero; 'and, before I
slay thee, tell me also what is thy name and what thou doest in the

'My name is Chin-débou Máu-giri,' said the giant. 'My home is in the
river, for my moustache is the grey fever-mist that hangs above the
water, and with which I bind all those that come unto me so that they

'You cannot bind me!' shouted Makóma, rushing upon him and striking
with his hammer. But the river giant was so slimy that the blow slid
harmlessly off his green chest, and as Makóma stumbled and tried to
regain his balance, the giant swung one of his long hairs around him
and tripped him up.


For a moment Makóma was helpless, but remembering the power of the

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