The Yellow Fairy Book

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London: LONGMANS, GREEN, & CO. New York: 15 East 16th Street.

The Swineherd Takes The Ten Kisses



Yellow Fairy Book



The Yellow Fairy Book (1894) - title page illustration.png



All rights reserved




Books Yellow, Red, and Green and Blue, All true, or just as good as true, And here’s the Yellow Book for you!

Hard is the path from A to Z, And puzzling to a curly head, Yet leads to Books—Green, Blue, and Red

For every child should understand That letters from the first were planned To guide us into Fairy Land

So labour at your Alphabet, For by that learning shall you get To lands where Fairies may be met.

And going where this pathway goes, You too, at last, may find, who knows? The Garden of the Singing Rose.




The Editor thinks that children will readily forgive him for publishing another Fairy Book. We have had the Blue, the Red, the Green, and here is the Yellow. If children are pleased, and they are so kind as to say that they are pleased, the Editor does not care very much for what other people may say. Now, there is one gentleman who seems to think that it is not quite right to print so many fairy tales, with pictures, and to publish them in red and blue covers. He is named Mr. G. Laurence Gomme, and he is president of a learned body called the Folk Lore Society. Once a year he makes his address to his subjects, of whom the Editor is one, and Mr. Joseph Jacobs (who has published many delightful fairy tales with pretty pictures)[1] is another. Fancy, then, the dismay of Mr. Jacobs, and of the Editor, when they heard their president say that he did not think it very nice in them to publish fairy books, above all, red, green, and blue fairy books! They said that they did not see any harm in it, and they were ready to ‘put themselves on their country,’ and be tried by a jury of children. And, indeed, they still see no harm in what they have done; nay, like Father William in the poem, they are ready ‘to do it again and again.’

Where is the harm? The truth is that the Folk Lore Society—made up of the most clever, learned, and beautiful men and women of the country—is fond of studying the history and geography of Fairy Land. This is contained in very old tales, such as country people tell, and savages:

Little Sioux and little Crow, Little frosty Eskimo.’

These people are thought to know most about fairyland and its inhabitants. But, in the Yellow Fairy Book, and the rest, are many tales by persons who are neither savages nor rustics, such as Madame D’Aulnoy and Herr Hans Christian Andersen. The Folk Lore Society, or its president, say that their tales are not so true as the rest, and should not be published with the rest. But we say that all the stories which are pleasant to read are quite true enough for us; so here they are, with pictures by Mr. Ford, and we do not think that either the pictures or the stories are likely to mislead children.

As to whether there are really any fairies or not, that is a difficult question. Professor Huxley thinks there are none. The Editor never saw any himself, but he knows several people who have seen them—in the Highlands—and heard their music. If ever you are in Nether Lochaber, go to the Fairy Hill, and you may hear the music yourself, as grown-up people have done, but you must go on a fine day. Again, if there are really no fairies, why do people believe in them, all over the world? The ancient Greeks believed, so did the old Egyptians, and the Hindoos, and the Red Indians, and is it likely, if there are no fairies, that so many different peoples would have seen and heard them? The Rev. Mr. Baring-Gould saw several fairies when he was a boy, and was travelling in the land of the Troubadours. For these reasons, the Editor thinks that there are certainly fairies, but they never do anyone any harm; and, in England, they have been frightened away by smoke and schoolmasters. As to Giants, they have died out, but real Dwarfs are common in the forests of Africa. Probably a good many stories not perfectly true have been told about fairies, but such stories have also been told about Napoleon, Claverhouse, Julius Cæsar, and Joan of Arc, all of whom certainly existed. A wise child will, therefore, remember that, if he grows up and becomes a member of the Folk Lore Society, all the tales in this book were not offered to him as absolutely truthful, but were printed merely for his entertainment. The exact facts he can learn later, or he can leave them alone.

There are Russian, German, French, Icelandic, Red Indian, and other stories here. They were translated by Miss Cheape, Miss Alma, and Miss Thyra Alleyne, Miss Sellar, Mr. Craigie (he did the Icelandic tales), Miss Blackley, Mrs. Dent, and Mrs. Lang, but the Red Indian stories are copied from English versions published by the Smithsonian Bureau of Ethnology, in America. Mr. Ford did the pictures, and it is hoped that children will find the book not less pleasing than those which have already been submitted to their consideration. The Editor cannot say ‘good-bye’ without advising them, as they pursue their studies, to read The Rose and the Ring, by the late Mr. Thackeray, with pictures by the author. This book he thinks quite indispensable in every child’s library, and parents should be urged to purchase it at the first opportunity, as without it no education is complete.

  1. You may buy them from Mr. Nutt, in the Strand.




The Swineherd takes the Ten Kisses Frontispiece
The Six Brothers changed into Swans by their Stepmother To face page 8
The Witch-maiden sees the Young Man under a Tree To face page 12
‘Here you shall remain chained up until you die’ To face page 20
The Prince throws the Apple to the Princess To face page 30
The Iron Stove To face page 32
‘Standing in the doorway a charming maiden at whose sight his mind seemed to give way’ To face page 58
The Seven-headed Serpent To face page 62
The Mirror of the Present To face page 84
Prince Gnome learns the Name of his Rival at the Golden Fountain To face page 88
The Black Girl stops the Witch with a Bit of the Rock To face page 144
Militza and her Maidens in the Garden To face page 168
Iwanich casts the Fish into the Water To face page 172
‘In winter, when everything is dead, she must come and live with me in my palace underground’ To face page 196
Simpleton's Army appears before the King To face page 204
The Snow Maiden To face page 206
‘Gee up, my five horses’ To face page 226
The Swineherd takes the Ten Kisses To face page 250
The Irishman arrives at the Blue Mountains To face page 262
The Witch comes on Board To face page 274
Sigurd hews the Chain asunder To face page 276
The King finds the Queen of Hetland To face page 302


The Partnership 1
At Home in the Church 2
Protestation 3
The Way of the World 3
‘And then her dress’ 7
The Youth secures the Dragon 17
The Emperor comes to see his New Clothes 24
‘Let down, let down thy petticoat that lets thy feet be seen’ 27
The Fisherman brings the Crab on the Golden Cushion 28
‘Then she reached the three cutting swords, and got on her plough-wheel and rolled over them’ 35
The Dragon carries off the Three Soldiers 39
The Fiend defeated 41
The Maiden obtains the Bird-heart 44
The Hunter is transformed into a Donkey 46
The Young Man gives the Donkeys to the Miller 48
The Prince looks into the Magic Mirror. 51
Prince Saphir Steals the Horse and Harness 55
Ferko healed by Magic Waters 67
Ferko before the King 68
Ferko leads the Wolves on 73
The Herd-boy binds up the Giant's Foot 75
Rosalie 82
In the Labyrinth of Despair 85
The Evil Spirits drag the Girl to the Cauldron 93
My Enemy is given into my Hands 97
The Princess and the Eagle in the Flowery Meadow 102
The Wizard King pays a Visit to the Princess 105
The Miller sees the Nixy of the Mill-pond 109
A Wave swept the Spinning-wheel from the Bank 112
The Boy attacked by the Eagle on the Glass Mountain 116
The King makes Friends with the Green Monkey 121
The Green Monkey in the Bath 123
Lagree gives the Two Bottles to Fairer-than-a-Fairy 127
Fairer-than-a-Fairy summons the Rainbow 130
‘Then the youth swung his mighty sword in the air, and with one blow cut off the serpent’s head’ 136
‘My brother, my brother, I am becoming a wolf!’ 139
‘But the waters seized her chariot and sunk it in the lowest depths’ 147
The Indian finds his Wife sitting by the Fire 150
The Witch persuades the Queen to bathe 156
The King catches the White Duck 159
Iwanich holds fast the Swan 163
Militza leaves Iwanich in the Tree 164
The Prickly Man with his Attendants 168
Iwanich seizes the Magician by his Beard and dashes him to the Ground 176
Martin extinguishes the Flames 181
The Princess summons the twelve Young Men 186
Schurka upsets the Baker 187
The Mouse steals the Ring from the Princess 189
The Dragons dancing 195
The Simpleton awakes and sees the Flying Ship 199
The Comrades in the Flying Ship meet the Drinker 201
‘Maiden, are you warm?’ 211
The Sun-hero guards the Apples of the Sun 214
‘Who’s there?’ 217
The Comb grows into a Forest 220
The Black King’s Gift 224
The Farmer thinks he sees the Devil in the Chest 229
The Shoemakers and Tanners drive Big Klaus out of the Town 231
‘Open the sack,’ said Little Klaus 234
The Woman pushes Prince Ring into the Cask 238
Snati and Prince Ring fight with the Oxen 242
Prince Ring and Snati overthrow the Troll’s Ghost 246
A True Princess 255
The Princess revives the Irishman 258
The Soldier fills his Knapsack with Money 267
The Dog brings in the Princess 269
‘He was skipping along so merrily’ 271
‘“Croak, croak, croak !” was all he could say’ 280
Thumbelina rides on the Waterlily Leaf 281
Thumbelina brings Thistledown for the Swallow 285
Thumbelina has to spin 287
‘We will call you May-blossom’ 289
The Kitchenmaid listens to the Nightingale 293
The Present from the Emperor of Japan 295
The True Nightingale sings to the Emperor 299
Hadvor burns the Lion’s Skin 306
‘Don’t look at things that aren’t intended for the likes of you’ 309
Down the Drain 310
And that was the End 312
‘Then they oiled the corners of their mouths’ 314
Hans fills his Pocket with the Mud 315
‘The reporters giggled,’ &c 317



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This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.