Page:Tales of Mother Goose (Welsh).djvu/99
have been unearthed and revived, and prove to have lost nothing of their power of taking hold upon the minds of the little folk.
Perrault says of his collection that it is certain these stories excite in the children who read them the desire to resemble those characters who become happy, and at the same time they inspire them with the fear of the consequences which happen to those who do ill deeds; and he claims that they all contain a very distinct moral which is more or less evident to all who read them.
Emerson says: "What Nature at one time provides for use, she afterwards turns to ornament," and Herbert Spencer, following out this idea, remarks that "the fairy lore, which in times past was matter of grave belief and held sway over people's conduct, has since been transformed into ornament for The Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, The Fairy Queen, and endless small tales and poems; and still affords subjects for children's story books, amuses boys and girls, and becomes matter for jocose allusion."
Thus, also, Sir Walter Scott, in a note to "The Lady of the Lake," says: "The mythology of one period would appear to pass into the romance of the next, and that into the nursery tales of subsequent ages," and Max Müller, in his "Chips from a German Workshop," says: "The gods of ancient mythology were changed into the demigods and heroes of ancient epic poetry, and these demigods again became at a later age the principal characters of our nursery tales."
These thoughts may help to a better understanding of some of the uses of such stories and of their proper place in children's reading.