The brown fairy book

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The brown fairy book  (1904) 
by Andrew Lang

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From "What the Rose did to the Cypress." See p. 20.

plate bound separately



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Edited by Andrew Lang

With Numerous Illustrations by H. J. Ford

New YorkTorontoLondon

Published in Canada by General Publishing Company, Ltd., 30 Lesmill Road, Don Mills, Toronto, Ontario.

Published in the United Kingdom by Constable and Company, Ltd., 10 Orange Street, London W.C.2.

Published in the United States of America by Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York 10014 in 1965 in paperback.

First hardcover publication of the Dover Edition by McGraw-Hill Book Company in 1966.

This edition is an unabridged and unaltered republication of the work first published by Longmans, Green, and Co. in 1904.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 65-25708

Manufactured in the United States of America





The stories in this Fairy Book come from all quarters of the world. For example, the adventures of 'Ball-Carrier and the Bad One' are told by Red Indian grandmothers to Red Indian children who never go to school, nor see pen and ink. 'The Bunyip' is known to even more uneducated little ones, running about with no clothes at all in the bush, in Australia. You may see photographs of these merry little black fellows before their troubles begin, in 'Northern Faces of Central Australia,' by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen. They have no lessons except in tracking and catching birds, beasts, fishes, lizards, and snakes, all of which they eat. But when they grow up to be big boys and girls, they are cruelly cut about with stone knives and frightened with sham bogies—'all for their good' their parents say—and I think they would rather go to school, if they had their choice, and take their chance of being birched and bullied. However, many boys might think it better fun to begin to learn hunting as soon as they can walk. Other stories, like 'The Sacred Milk of Koumongoé,' come from the Kaffirs in Africa, whose dear papas are not so poor as those in Australia, but have plenty of cattle and milk, and good mealies to eat, and live in houses like very big bee-hives, and wear clothes of a sort, though not very like our own. 'Pivi and Kabo' is a tale from the brown people in the island of New Caledonia, where a boy is never allowed to speak to or even look at his own sisters; nobody knows why, so curious are the manners of this remote island. The story shows the advantages of good manners and pleasant behaviour; and the natives do not now cook and eat each other, but live on fish, vegetables, pork, and chickens, and dwell in houses. 'What the Rose did to the Cypress,' is a story from Persia, where the people, of course, are civilised, and much like those of whom you read in 'The Arabian Nights.' Then there are tales like 'The Fox and the Lapp' from the very north of Europe, where it is dark for half the year and day-light for the other half. The Lapps are a people not fond of soap and water, and very much given to art magic. Then there are tales from India, told to Major Campbell, who wrote them out, by Hindoos; these stories are 'Wali Dâd the Simple-hearted,' and 'The King who would be Stronger than Fate,' but was not so clever as his daughter. From Brazil, in South America, comes 'The Tortoise and the Mischievous Monkey,' with the adventures of other animals. Other tales are told in various parts of Europe, and in many languages; but all people, black, white, brown, red, and yellow, are like each other when they tell stories; for these are meant for children, who like the same sort of thing, whether they go to school and wear clothes, or, on the other hand, wear skins of beasts, or even nothing at all, and live on grubs and lizards and hawks and crows and serpents, like the little Australian blacks.

The tale of 'What the Rose did to the Cypress,' is translated out of a Persian manuscript by Mrs. Beveridge. 'Pivi and Kabo' is translated by the Editor from a French version; 'Asmund and Signy' by Miss Blackley; the Indian stories by Major Campbell, and all the rest are told by Mrs. Lang, who does not give them exactly as they are told by all sorts of outlandish natives, but makes them up in the hope white people will like them, skipping the pieces which they will not like. That is how this Fairy Book was made up for your entertainment.


What the Rose did to the Cypress 1
Ball-Carrier and the Bad One 48
How Ball-Carrier finished his Task 59
The Bunyip 71
Father Grumbler 77
The Story of the Yara 88
The Cunning Hare 100
The Turtle and his Bride 106
How Geirald the Coward was Punished 114
Hábogi 126
How the Little Brother set Free his Big Brothers 134
The Sacred Milk of Koumongoé 143
The Wicked Wolverine 154
The Husband of the Rat's Daughter 161
The Mermaid and the Boy 165
Pivi and Kabo 183
The Elf Maiden 190
How Some Wild Animals became Tame Ones 197
Fortune and the Wood-Cutter 202
The Enchanted Head 205
The Sister of the Sun 215
The Prince and the Three Fates 233
The Fox and the Lapp 245
Kisa the Cat 256
The Lion and the Cat 263
Which was the Foolishest? 270
Asmund and Signy 275
Rübezahl 283
Story of the King who would be Stronger than Fate 300
Story of Wali Dâd the Simple-hearted 315
Tale of a Tortoise and of a Mischievous Monkey 327
The Knights of the Fish 343



[These illustrations are reproduced in full color following page 74.]

'You will have to make me your Wife, said the Elf Maiden (p. 198) Frontispiece
Prince Almas Transformed to face p. 20
The Punishment of the Rose ,, 36
Habogi's Horses ,,128
'Listen, listen!' said the Mermaid to the Prince ,,178
The Princess and the Snake ,,238
Rübezahl and the Princess ,,290
The Dragon and the Mirror ,,346


The Deer eludes Prince Tahmāsp ,,  2
Mihr-afrūz and Prince Tahmāsp ,,  8
The Shadow in the Stream ,, 14
Chil-māq carries off Almas ,, 28
The Death of the Bad One ,, 54
The Witch outstrips the Wolf ,, 60
'Wake up, my Grandson, it is time to go home?' ,, 64
The Bunyip ,, 72
The Yara Defeated ,, 94
The Little Hare is Caught ,,100
The Turtle Outwitted ,,110
Geirald claims his Reward and the Queendemands another Test ,,120
The Jealous Sisters spell-bound in the Ashpit ,,130
The Mermaid asks for the King’s Child ,,166
The Princess on the Seashore ,,172
The Bee, the Princess, the Red Knight, and the Lion ,,180
Pivi dives for the Shellfish ,,186
The Princess sees the Magic Head ,,210
The Golden Hen will not be Caught ,,218
Signy at the Window ,,278
The Gnome falls in love with the Princess ,,284
Wali Dad and the Peris ,,322


Prince Almas brings Game to the King Lion 27
The Dog and his Attendants 39
The Boy in the Witch's Hut 49
The Magic Basket 79
The Wonderful Cock 83
The Holy Man gives the Bag to Father Grumbler 85
Julia sings her Song into the Shell 92
The Girl laughs at the Army of Turtles 108
'The Giant will trouble you no more,' said Geirald 119
Every Time a Bear was killed his Shadow returned to the House of the Great Bear-Chief 135
How the Boys were half turned into Bears 138
'Why do you give to the Ogre your Child, so fair, so fair?' 146
'Bring to me Dilah, Dilah the Rejected One' 151
All the Animals try to get the Rock off Wolverine's Legs 155
The Elf Maiden's House 195
The King falls in Love with the Sister of the Sun 225
The Pool in the Sand 243
The Elves and the Bear 247
Kisa the Cat carries off Ingibjörg's Feet from the Giant's Cave 260
The Princess steals the King's Letter 311



This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.