Page:Tales of Mother Goose (Welsh).djvu/98

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literature and folklore of other nations before Perrault's time is given in Les Contes de ma mère l'Oie avant Perrault, by Charles Deulin, Paris, E. Dentu, 1878.

In this book Mr. Deulin inclines to the view that the stories as first published by Perrault were not really written by him, but by his little son of ten or eleven, to whom Perrault told the stories as he had gathered them up with the intention of rendering them in verse after the manner of La Fontaine. The lad had an excellent memory, much natural wit, and a great gift of expression. He loved the stories his father told him and thoroughly enjoyed the task his father set him of rewriting them from memory, as an exercise. This was so happily done, in such a fresh, artless, and engaging style, exactly befitting the subjects of the stories, that the father found the son's version better than the one he had contemplated and gave that to the world instead.

These stories made their way slowly in England at first, but in the end they nearly eclipsed the native fairy tales and legends, which, owing to Puritan influence, had been frowned upon and discouraged until they were remembered only in the remoter districts, and told only by the few who had not come under its sway. Indeed, the Puritanical objection to nursery lore of all kinds still lingers in some corners of England.

The stories of Perrault came in just when the severer manifestations of Puritanism were beginning to decline, and they have since become as much a part of English fairy lore as the old English folk and fairy tales themselves. These latter, thanks to Mr. Joseph Jacob, Mr. Andrew Lang, Mr. E. S. Hartland, and others,