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English Fairy Tales

Joseph Jacobs complained in the 19th century, "What Perrault began, the Grimms completed." All the fairy tales the children knew were French or German in origin. He tried to amend it, and so we have his English Fairy Tales and More English Fairy Tales.

You will indeed recognize a few, most likely. "The Three Bears" is the first written version, with a nasty old woman instead of Goldilocks, and "Scrapefoot" is recognizably the same tale, with a fox. "Jack and the Beanstalk" is, in fact, the best known variant nowadays.

Not all of them are fairy tales. Some, like "My Own Self" and "Yallery Brown," are anecdotes about fairies. Others are progressive tales, or tales of cunning characters or fools.

Others are unusual fairy tales. My own two favorites -- not just here but among all fairy tales -- are "Kate Crackernuts" and "Tattercoats." It also has "Black Bull of Norroway," "The King of England and His Three Sons," "The Fish and the Ring," and "Catskin," among other tales where you can recognize the type if you've read widely, but these are specific variants. Also, some truly strange ones. It includes "The Buried Moon," for instance.
Tags: author: j, category: children's books, genre: classic, review
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