A STUDY OF FAIRY TALES
LAURA F. KREADY, B.S.
With an Introduction by Henry Suzzallo, Ph.D. President of the University of Washington, Seattle
TO THE CHILDREN WHO, BECAUSE OF IT, MAY RECEIVE ANY GOOD.
One of the problems of present-day education is to secure for the entire school system, from the kindergarten to the university, a curriculum which shall have a proved and permanent value. In this curriculum literature has established itself as a subject of unquestioned worth. But children's literature, as that distinct portion of the subject literature written especially for children or especially suited to them, is only beginning to take shape and form. It seems necessary at this time to work upon the content of children's literature to see what is worthy of a permanent place in the child's English, and to dwell upon its possibilities. A consideration of this subject has convinced me of three points:
(1) that literature in the kindergarten and elementary school should be taught as a distinct subject, accessory neither to reading nor to any other subject of the curriculum, though intimately related to them;
(2) that it takes training in the subject to teach literature to little children;
(3) that the field of children's literature is largely untilled, inviting laborers, embracing literature which should be selected from past ages down to the present.
A single motif of this children's literature, Fairy Tales, is here presented, with the aim of organizing this small portion of the curriculum for the child of five, six, or seven years, in the kindergarten and the first grade. The purpose has been to show this unit of literature in its varied connection with those subjects which bear an essential relation to it. This presentation incidentally may serve as an example of one method of giving to teachers a course in literature by showing what training may be given in a single motif, Fairy Tales. Incidentally also it may set forth a few theories of education, not isolated from practice, but united to the everyday problems where the teacher will recognize them with greatest impression. In the selection of the subject no undue prominence is hereby advocated for fairy tales. We know fairy tales about which we could agree with Maria Edgeworth when she said: "Even if children do prefer fairy tales, is this a reason why their minds should be filled with fantastic visions instead of useful knowledge?" However, there is no danger that fairy tales will occupy more than a fair share of the child's interest, much as he enjoys a tale; for the little child's main interest is centered in the actual things of everyday life and his direct contact with them. Yet there is a part of him untouched by these practical activities of his real and immediate life; and it is this which gives to literature its unique function, to minister to the spirit. Fairy tales, in contributing in their small way to this high service, while they occupy a position of no undue prominence, nevertheless hold a place of no mean value in education.
In the study of fairy tales, as of any portion of the curriculum or as in any presentation of subject-matter, three main elements must unite to form one combined whole: the child, the subject, and the teaching of the subject. In behalf of the child I want to show how fairy tales contain his interests and how they are means for the expression of his instincts and for his development in purpose, in initiative, in judgment, in organization of ideas, and in the creative return possible to him. In behalf of the subject I want to show what fairy tales must possess as classics, as literature and composition, and as short-stories; to trace their history, to classify the types, and to supply the sources of material. In behalf of the teaching of fairy tales I want to describe the telling of the tale: the preparation it involves, the art required in its presentation, and the creative return to be expected from the child.
In the consideration of the subject the main purpose has been to relate fairy tales to the large subjects, literature and composition. From the past those tales have come down to us which inherently possessed the qualities of true classics. In modern times so few children's tales have survived because they have been written mainly from the point of view of the subject and of the child without regard to the standards of literary criticism. In the school the teaching of literature in the kindergarten and elementary grades has been conducted largely also from the point of view of the child and of the subject without regard to the arts of literature and composition. In bookshops counters are filled with many books that lack literary value or artistic merit. The object in this book has been to preserve the point of view of the child and of the subject and yet at the same time relate the tale to the standards of literature and of composition. The object has been to get the teacher, every time she selects or tells a tale, to apply practically the great underlying principles of literature, of composition, and of the short-story, as well as those of child-psychology and of pedagogy.
This relating of the tale to literary standards will give to the teacher a greater respect for the material she is handling and a consequent further understanding of its possibilities. It will reveal what there is in the tale to teach and also how to teach it. In teaching literature as also other art subject-matter in the kindergarten and first grade, the problem is to hold fast to the principles of the art and yet select, or let the child choose, material adapted to his simplicity. As the little child uses analysis but slightly, his best method of possessing a piece of literature is to do something with it.
The fairy tale is also related to life standards, for it presents to the child a criticism of life. By bringing forward in high light the character of the fairy, the fairy tale furnishes a unique contribution to life. Through its repeated impression of the idea of fairyhood it may implant in the child a desire which may fructify into that pure, generous, disinterested kindness and love of the grown-up, which aims to play fairy to another, with sincere altruism to make appear before his eyes his heart's desire, or in a twinkling to cause what hitherto seemed impossible. Fairy tales thus are harbingers of that helpfulness which would make a new earth, and as such afford a contribution to the religion of life.
In stressing the history of fairy tales the purpose has been to present fairy tales as an evolution. The kindergarten and first-grade teacher must therefore look to find her material anywhere in the whole field and intimately related with the whole. Special attention has been placed upon the English fairy tale as the tale of our language. As we claim an American literature since the days of Washington Irving, the gradual growth of the American fairy tale has been included, for which we gratefully acknowledge the courtesy of the Librarian of the United States Bureau of Education and the Bibliographer of the Library of Congress. A particular treatment of some North American Indian folk-tales would also be desirable. But a study of these tales reveals but one unimportant pourquois tale, of sufficient simplicity. This study of the natural history of the fairy tale as an art form is not necessary for the child. But for the teacher it reveals the nature of fairy tales and their meaning. It is an aid to that scholarly command of subject-matter which is the first essential for expertness in teaching. Only when we view the American fairy tale of to-day in the light of its past history can we obtain a correct standard by which to judge of its excellence or of its worth.
In the classification of fairy tales the purpose has been to organize the entire field so that any tale may be studied through the type which emphasizes its distinguishing features. The source material endeavors to furnish a comprehensive treatment of fairy tales for the kindergarten and elementary school.
In the preparation of this book the author takes pleasure in expressing an appreciation of the criticism and helpful suggestions given by the Editor, Dr. Henry Suzzallo, under whose counsel, cooperation, and incentive the work grew. The author wishes also to make a general acknowledgment for the use of many books which of necessity would be consulted in organizing and standardizing any unit of literature. Special acknowledgment should be made for the use of Grimm's Household Tales, edited by Margaret Hunt, containing valuable notes and an introduction by Andrew Lang of English Fairy Tales, More English Fairy Tales, Indian Fairy Tales, and Reynard the Fox, and their scholarly introductions and notes, by Joseph Jacobs; of Norse Tales and its full introduction, by Sir George W. Dasent; of Tales of the Punjab and its Appendix, by Mrs. F.A. Steel; of the Uncle Remus Books, by J.C. Harris; of Fairy Tales, by Hans C. Andersen; of Fairy Mythology and Tales and Popular Fictions, by Thomas Keightley; of Principles of Literary Criticism, by Professor C.T. Winchester, for its standards of literature; of English Composition, by Professor Barrett Wendell, for its standards of composition; of Professor John Dewey's classification of the child's instincts; and of the Kindergarten Review, containing many articles of current practice illustrating standards emphasized here.
Recognition is gratefully given for the use of various collections of fairy tales and for the use of any particular fairy tale that has been presented in outline, descriptive narrative, criticism, or dramatization. Among collections special mention should be made of The Fairy Library, by Kate D. Wiggin and Nora A. Smith; the Fairy Books, by Clifton Johnson; and the Fairy Books, by Andrew Lang. Among tales, particular mention should be made for the use, in adaptation, made of Oeyvind and Marit, given in Whittier's Child Life in Prose; of The Foolish Timid Rabbit, given in The Jataka Tales, by Ellen C. Babbit; of The Sheep and the Pig, in Miss Bailey's For the Children's Hour; of Drakesbill, in The Fairy Ring, by Wiggin and Smith; of The Magpie's Nest, in English Fairy Tales, by Joseph Jacobs; of How the Evergreen Trees Lose their Leaves, in The Book of Nature Myths, by Miss Holbrook; of The Good-Natured Bear, described by Thackeray in "On Some Illustrated Christmas Books"; and of The Hop-About-Man, by Agnes Herbertson, given in The Story-Teller's Book, by Alice O'Grady (Moulton) and Frances Throop.
The author wishes also to express thanks to the many teachers and children whose work has in any way contributed to A Study of Fairy Tales.
LAURA F. KREADY LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA August, 1916
INTRODUCTION BY HENRY SUZZALLO xv
I. THE WORTH OF FAIRY TALES 1
II. PRINCIPLES OF SELECTION FOR FAIRY TALES 13
III. THE TELLING OF FAIRY TALES 90
IV. THE HISTORY OF FAIRY TALES 158
V. CLASSES OF FAIRY TALES 204
VI. SOURCES OF MATERIAL FOR FAIRY TALES 245
The fairy tale has a place in the training of children which common sense and a sympathetic attitude toward childhood will not deny. Some rigid philosophers, who see no more of life than is to be found in logical science, condemn the imaginative tale. They regard the teaching of myths and stories as the telling of pleasant lies, which, if harmless, are wasteful. What the child acquires through them, he must sooner or later forget or unlearn.
Such arguments carry conviction until one perceives that their authors are measuring the worth of all teaching in terms of strictly intellectual products. Life is more than precise information; it is impulse and action. The fairy tale is a literary rather than a scientific achievement. Its realities are matters of feeling, in which thought is a mere skeleton to support the adventure. It matters little that the facts alleged in the story never were and never can be. The values and ideals which enlist the child's sympathy are morally worthy, affording a practice to those fundamental prejudices toward right and wrong which are the earliest acquisitions of a young soul. The other characteristics of the tale—the rhythmic, the grotesque, the weird, and the droll—are mere recreation, the abundant playfulness which children require to rest them from the dangers and terrors which fascinate them.
The fairy tale, like every other literary production, must be judged by the fitness of its emotional effects. Fairyland is the stage-world of childhood, a realm of vicarious living, more elemental and more fancy-free than the perfected dramas of sophisticated adults whose ingrained acceptance of binding realities demands sterner stuff. The tales are classics of a particular kind; they are children's classics, artful adaptations of life and form which grip the imaginations of little folks.
The diet of babes cannot be determined by the needs of grown-ups. A spiritual malnutrition which starves would soon set in if adult wisdom were imposed on children for their sustenance. The truth is amply illustrated by those pathetic objects of our acquaintance, the men and women who have never been boys and girls.
To cast out the fairy tale is to rob human beings of their childhood, that transition period in which breadth and richness are given to human life so that it may be full and plastic enough to permit the creation of those exacting efficiencies which increasing knowledge and responsibility compel. We cannot omit the adventures of fairyland from our educational program. They are too well adapted to the restless, active, and unrestrained life of childhood. They take the objects which little boys and girls know vividly and personify them so that instinctive hopes and fears may play and be disciplined.
While the fairy tales have no immediate purpose other than to amuse, they leave a substantial by-product which has a moral significance. In every reaction which the child has for distress or humor in the tale, he deposits another layer of vicarious experience which sets his character more firmly in the mould of right or wrong attitude. Every sympathy, every aversion helps to set the impulsive currents of his life, and to give direction to his personality.
Because of the important aesthetic and ethical bearings of this form of literary experience, the fairy stories must be rightly chosen and artfully told. In no other way can their full worth in education be realized. They are tools which require discrimination and skill. Out of the wisdom of one who knows both tales and children, and who holds a thoughtful grasp on educational purpose, we offer this volume of unusually helpful counsel.—HENRY SUZZALLO.
THE WORTH OF FAIRY TALES
In olde dayes of the kyng Arthour, Of which that Britouns speken gret honour, Al was this lond fulfilled of fayrie; The elf-queen, with hir joly compaignye, Daunced ful oft in many a grene mede.—CHAUCER.
I. TWO PUBLIC TRIBUTES
Only a few years ago, in the gardens of the Tuileries, in Paris, a statue was erected in memory of Charles Perrault, to be placed there among the sculptures of the never-to-be-forgotten fairy tales he had created,—Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss-in-Boots, Hop-o'-my-Thumb, Bluebeard, and the rest,—so that the children who roamed the gardens, and in their play gathered about the statues of their beloved fairy friends, might have with them also a reminder of the giver of all this joy, their friend Perrault. Two hundred years before, Perrault truly had been their friend, not only in making for them fairy tales, but in successfully pleading in their behalf when he said, "I am persuaded that the gardens of the King were made so great and spacious that all the children may walk in them."
Only in December, 1913, in Berlin, was completed the Maerchen Brunnen, or "Fairy-Tale Fountain," at the entrance to Friedrichshain Park, in which the idea of the architect, Stadt-Baurat Ludwig Hoffmann, wholly in harmony with the social spirit of the times, was to erect an artistic monument to give joy to multitudes of children. This fairy entrance to the park is a decorative lay-out, a central ground surrounded by a high, thick lodge of beeches. Toward this central ground—which has been transformed into a joyous fairy world—many hedge walks lead; while in the sidewalks, to warn naughty children, are concealed fantastic figures. There is the huge Menschen-fresser, who grasps a tender infant in each Titan hand and bears on his head a huge basket of children too young to have known much wrong. A humorous touch, giving distinct charm to the whole creation, pervades all. From lions' heads and vases, distributed at regular intervals in the semicircular arcade in the background, water gushes forth; while in the central basin, nine small water animals—seven frogs and two larger animals—appear spouting great jets of water. Clustered about the central fountain are the nine fairy characters of Professor Ignatius Taschner, among whom are Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Grethel each riding a duck, Puss-in-Boots, Cinderella, and Lucky Hans; and looking down upon them from the surrounding balustrade are the animal figures by Joseph Rauch. In these simple natural classic groups, fancy with what pleasure the children may look to find the friendly beasts and the favorite tales they love!
Such is the tribute to fairy tales rendered by two great nations who have recognized fairy tales as the joyous right of children. Any education which claims to relate itself to present child life can hardly afford to omit what is acknowledged as part of the child's everyday life; nor can it afford to omit to hand on to the child those fairy tales which are a portion of his literary heritage.
II. THE VALUE OF FAIRY TALES IN EDUCATION
In considering fairy tales for the little child, the first question which presents itself is, "Why are fairy stories suited to the little child, and what is their value for him?"
Fairy tales bring joy into child life. The mission of joy has not been fully preached, but we know that joy works toward physical health, mental brightness, and moral virtue. In the education of the future, happiness together with freedom will be recognized as the largest beneficent powers that will permit the individual of four, from his pristine, inexperienced self-activity, to become that final, matured, self-expressed, self-sufficient, social development—the educated man. Joy is the mission of art and fairy tales are art products. As such Pater would say, "For Art comes to you, proposing to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments' sake. Not the fruit of experience, but experience, is the end." Such quality came from the art of the fairy tale into the walk of a little girl, for whom even the much-tabooed topic of the weather took on a new, fresh charm. In answer to a remark concerning the day she replied, "Yes, it's not too hot, and not too cold, but just right." All art, being a product of the creative imagination, has the power to stimulate the creative faculties. "For Art, like Genius," says Professor Woodberry, "is common to all men, it is the stamp of the soul in them." All are creatures of imitation and combination; and the little child, in handling an art product, puts his thought through the artist's mould and gains a touch of the artist's joy.
Fairy tales satisfy the play spirit of childhood. Folk-tales are the product of a people in a primitive stage when all the world is a wonder-sphere. Most of our popular tales date from days when the primitive Aryan took his evening meal of yava and fermented mead, and the dusky Sudra roamed the Punjab. "All these fancies are pervaded with that purity by which children seem to us so wonderful," said William Grimm. "They have the same blue-white, immaculate bright eyes." Little children are in this same wonder-stage. They believe that the world about throbs with life and is peopled with all manner of beautiful, powerful folk. All children are poets, and fairy tales are the poetic recording of the facts of life. In this day of commercial enterprise, if we would fit children for life we must see to it that we do not blight the poets in them. In this day of emphasis on vocational training we must remember there is a part of life unfed, unnurtured, and unexercised by industrial education. Moreover, whatever will be accomplished in life will be the achievement of a free and vigorous life of the imagination. Before it was realized, everything new had existed in some trained imagination, fertile with ideas. The tale feeds the imagination, for the soul of it is a bit of play. It suits the child because in it he is not bound by the law of cause and effect, nor by the necessary relations of actual life. He is entirely in sympathy with a world where events follow as one may choose. He likes the mastership of the universe. And fairyland—where there is no time; where troubles fade; where youth abides; where things come out all right—is a pleasant place.
Furthermore, fairy tales are play forms. "Play," Bichter says, "is the first creative utterance of man." "It is the highest form in which the native activity of childhood expresses itself," says Miss Blow. Fairy tales offer to the little child an opportunity for the exercise of that self-active inner impulse which seeks expression in two kinds of play, the symbolic activity of free play and the concrete presentation of types. The play, The Light Bird, and the tale, The Bremen Town Musicians, both offer an opportunity for the child to express that pursuit of a light afar off, a theme which appeals to childhood. The fairy tale, because it presents an organized form of human experience, helps to organize the mind and gives to play the values of human life. By contributing so largely to the play spirit, fairy tales contribute to that joy of activity, of achievement, of cooeperation, and of judgment, which is the joy of all work. This habit of kindergarten play, with its joy and freedom and initiative, is the highest goal to be attained in the method of university work.
Fairy tales give the child a power of accurate observation. The habit of re-experiencing, of visualization, which they exercise, increases the ability to see, and is the contribution literature offers to nature study. In childhood acquaintance with the natural objects of everyday life is the central interest; and in its turn it furnishes those elements of experience upon which imagination builds. For this reason it is rather remarkable that the story, which is omitted from the Montessori system of education, is perhaps the most valuable means of effecting that sense-training, freedom, self-initiated play, repose, poise, and power of reflection, which are foundation stones of its structure.
Fairy tales strengthen the power of emotion, develop the power of imagination, train the memory, and exercise the reason. As emotion and imagination are considered in Chapter 11, in the section, "The Fairy Tale as Literature," and the training of the memory and the exercise of the reason in connection with the treatment of various other topics later on, these subjects will be passed by for the present. Every day the formation of habits of mind during the process of education is being looked upon with a higher estimate. The formation of habits of mind through the use of fairy tales will become evident during following chapters.
Fairy tales extend and intensify the child's social relations. They appeal to the child by presenting aspects of family life. Through them he realizes his relations to his own parents: their care, their guardianship, and their love. Through this he realizes different situations and social relations, and gains clear, simple notions of right and wrong. His sympathies are active for kindness and fairness, especially for the defenseless, and he feels deeply the calamity of the poor or the suffering and hardship of the ill-treated. He is in sympathy with that poetic justice which desires immediate punishment of wrong, unfairness, injustice, cruelty, or deceit. Through fairy tales he gains a many-sided view of life. Through his dramas, with a power of sympathy which has seemed universal, Shakespeare has given the adult world many types of character and conduct that are noble. But fairy tales place in the hands of childhood all that the thousands and thousands of the universe for ages have found excellent in character and conduct. They hold up for imitation all those cardinal virtues of love and self-sacrifice,—which is the ultimate criterion of character,—of courage, loyalty, kindness, gentleness, fairness, pity, endurance, bravery, industry, perseverance, and thrift. Thus fairy tales build up concepts of family life and of ethical standards, broaden a child's social sense of duty, and teach him to reflect. Besides developing his feelings and judgments, they also enlarge his world of experience.
In the school, the fairy tale as one form of the story is one part of the largest means to unify the entire work or play of the child. In proportion as the work of art, nature-study, game, occupation, etc., is fine, it will deal with some part of the child's everyday life. The good tale parallels life. It is a record of a portion of the race reaction to its environment; and being a permanent record of literature, it records experience which is universal and presents situations most human. It is therefore material best suited to furnish the child with real problems. As little children have their thoughts and observations directed mainly toward people and centered about the home, the fairy tale rests secure as the intellectual counterpart to those thoughts. As self-expression and self-activity are the great natural instincts of the child, in giving opportunity to make a crown for a princess, mould a clay bowl, decorate a tree, play a game, paint the wood, cut paper animals, sing a lullaby, or trip a dance, the tale affords many problems exercising all the child's accomplishments in the variety of his work. This does not make the story the central interest, for actual contact with nature is the child's chief interest. But it makes the story, because it is an organized experience marked by the values of human life, the unity of the child's return or reaction to his environment. The tale thus may bring about that "living union of thought and expression which dispels the isolation of studies and makes the child live in varied, concrete, active relation to a common world."
In the home fairy tales employ leisure hours in a way that builds character. Critical moments of decision will come into the lives of all when no amount of reason will be a sufficient guide. Mothers who cannot follow their sons to college, and fathers who cannot choose for their daughters, can help their children best to fortify their spirits for such crises by feeding them with good literature. This, when they are yet little, will begin the rearing of a fortress of ideals which will support true feeling and lead constantly to noble action. Then, too, in the home, the illustration of his tale may give the child much pleasure. For this is the day of fairy-tale art; and the child's satisfaction in the illustration of the well-known tale is limitless. It will increase as he grows older, as he understands art better, and as he becomes familiar with the wealth of beautiful editions which are at his command.
And finally, though not of least moment, fairy tales afford a vital basis for language training and thereby take on a new importance in the child's English. Through the fairy tale he learns the names of things and the meanings of words. One English fairy tale, The Master of all Masters, is a ludicrous example of the tale built on this very theme of names and meanings. Especially in the case of foreign children, in a tale of repetition, such as The Cat and the Mouse, Teeny Tiny, or The Old Woman and Her Pig, will the repetitive passages be an aid to verbal expression. The child learns to follow the sequence of a story and gains a sense of order. He catches the note of definiteness from the tale, which thereby clarifies his thinking. He gains the habit of reasoning to consequences, which is one form of a perception of that universal law which rules the world, and which is one of the biggest things he will ever come upon in life. Never can he meet any critical situation where this habit of reasoning to consequences will not be his surest guide in a decision. Thus fairy tales, by their direct influence upon habits of thinking, effect language training.
Fairy tales contribute to language training also by providing another form of that basic content which is furnished for reading. In the future the child will spend more time in the kindergarten and early first grade in acquiring this content, so that having enjoyed the real literature, when he reads later on he will be eager to satisfy his own desires. Then reading will take purpose for him and be accomplished almost without drill and practically with no effort. The reading book will gradually disappear as a portion of his literary heritage. In the kindergarten the child will learn the play forms, and in the first grade the real beginnings, of phonics and of the form of words in the applied science of spelling. In music he will learn the beginnings of the use of the voice. This will leave him free, when he begins reading later, to give attention to the thought reality back of the symbols. When the elements combining to produce good oral reading are cared for in the kindergarten and in the first grade, in the subjects of which they properly form a part, the child, when beginning to read, no longer will be needlessly diverted, his literature will contribute to his reading without interference, and his growth in language will become an improved, steady accomplishment.
Allison, Samuel; and Perdue, Avis: The Story in Primary Instruction. Flanagan.
Blow, Susan; Hill, Patty; and Harrison, Elizabeth: The Kindergarten. Houghton.
Blow, Susan: Symbolic Education. Appleton.
Chamberlain, Alexander: "Folk-Lore in the Schools," Pedagogical Seminary, vol. vii, pp. 347-56.
Chubb, Percival: "Value and Place of Fairy Stories," National Education Association Report, 1905.
Dewey, John: The School and the Child. Blackie & Sons.
Ibid.: The School and Society. University of Chicago Press.
"Fairy Tales," Public Libraries, 1906, vol. 11, pp. 175-78.
Palmer, Luella: "Standard for Kindergarten Training," Kindergarten Review, June, 1914.
Welsh, Charles: Right Reading for Children. Heath.
PRINCIPLES OF SELECTION FOR FAIRY TALES
All our troubles come from doing that in which we have no interest.—EPICTETUS.
That is useful for every man which is conformable to his own constitution and nature.—MARCUS AURELIUS.
Genuine interest means that a person has identified himself with, or found himself in, a certain course of activity. It is obtained not by thinking about it and consciously aiming at it, but by considering and aiming at the conditions that lie back of it, and compel it.—JOHN DEWEY.
I. THE INTERESTS OF CHILDREN
Now that the value of fairy tales in education has been made clear, let us consider some of those principles of selection which should guide the teacher, the mother, the father, and the librarian, in choosing the tale for the little child.
Fairy tales must contain what interests children. It is a well-known principle that selective interest precedes voluntary attention; therefore interest is fundamental. All that is accomplished of permanent good is a by-product of the enjoyment of the tale. The tale will go home only as it brings joy, and it will bring joy when it secures the child's interest. Now interest is the condition which requires least mental effort. And fairy tales for little children must follow that great law of composition pointed out by Herbert Spencer, which makes all language consider the audience and the economy of the hearer's attention. The first step, then, is to study the interests of the child. We do not wish to give him just what he likes, but we want to give him a chance to choose from among those things which he ought to have and, as good and wise guardians, see that we offer what is in harmony with his interests. Any observation of the child's interest will show that he loves the things he finds in his fairy tales. He enjoys—
A sense of life. This is the biggest thing in the fairy tales, and the basis for their universal appeal. The little child who is just entering life can no more escape its attraction than can the aged veteran about to leave the pathway. The little pig, Whitie, who with his briskly curling tail goes eagerly down the road to secure, from the man who carried a load of straw, a bit with which to build his easily destructible house; Red Riding Hood taking a pot of jam to her sick grandmother; Henny Penny starting out on a walk, to meet with the surprise of a nut falling on her head—the biggest charm of all this is that it is life.
The familiar. The child, limited in experience, loves to come in touch with the things he knows about. It soothes his tenderness, allays his fears, makes him feel at home in the world,—and he hates to feel strange,—it calms his timidity, and satisfies his heart. The home and the people who live in it; the food, the clothing, and shelter of everyday life; the garden, the plant in it, or the live ant or toad; the friendly dog and cat, the road or street near by, the brook, the hill, the sky—these are a part of his world, and he feels them his own even in a story. The presents which the Rabbit went to town to buy for the little Rabbits, in How Brother Rabbit Frightens his Neighbors; the distinct names, Miss Janey and Billy Malone, given to the animals of In Some Lady's Garden, just as a child would name her dolls; and the new shoes of the Dog which the Rabbit managed to get in Why Mr. Dog Runs after Brother Rabbit—these all bring up in the child's experience delightful familiar associations. The tale which takes a familiar experience, gives it more meaning, and organizes it, such as The Little Red Hen, broadens, deepens, and enriches the child's present life.
The surprise. While he loves the familiar, nothing more quickly brings a smile than the surprise. Perhaps the most essential of the fairy traits is the combination of the familiar and the unfamiliar. The desire for the unknown, that curiosity which brings upon itself surprise, is the charm of childhood as well as the divine fire of the scientist. The naughty little Elephant who asked "a new, fine question he had never asked before," and who went to answer his own question of "what the crocodile has for dinner," met with many surprises which were spankings; and as a result, he returned home with a trunk and experience. He is a very good example of how delightful to the child this surprise can be. The essence of the fairy tale is natural life in a spiritual world, the usual child in the unusual environment, or the unusual child in the natural environment. This combination of the usual and unusual is the chief charm of Alice in Wonderland, where a natural child wanders through a changing environment that is unusual. For an idle moment enjoy the task of seeing how many ideas it contains which are the familiar ideas of children, and how they all have been "made different." All children love a tea-party, but what child would not be caught by having a tea-party with a Mad Hatter, a March Hare, and a sleepy Dormouse, with nothing to eat and no tea! Red Riding Hood was a dear little girl who set out to take a basket to her grandmother. But in the wood, after she had been gathering a nosegay and chasing butterflies, "just as I might do," any child might say, she met a wolf! And what child's ears would not rise with curiosity? "Now something's going to happen!" The Three Bears kept house. That was usual enough; but everything was different, and the charm is in giving the child a real surprise at every step. The house was not like an ordinary house; it was in the wood, and more like a play-house than a real one. There was a room, but not much in it; a table, but there was not on it what is on your table—only three bowls. What they contained was usual, but unusually one bowl of porridge was big and hot, one was less big and cold, and one was little and just right. There were usual chairs, unusual in size and very unusual when Goldilocks sat in them. Upstairs the bedroom was usual, but the beds were unusual when Goldilocks lay upon them. The Bears themselves were usual, but their talk and action was a delightful mixture of the surprising and the comical. Perhaps this love of surprise accounts for the perfect leap of interest with which a child will follow the Cock in The Bremen Town Musicians, as he saw from the top of the tree on which he perched, a light, afar off through the wood. Certainly the theme of a light in the distance has a charm for children as it must have had for man long ago.
Sense impression. Good things to eat, beautiful flowers, jewels, the beauties of sight, color, and sound, of odor and of taste, all gratify a child's craving for sense impression. This, in its height, is the charm of the Arabian Nights. But in a lesser degree it appears in all fairy tales. Cinderella's beautiful gowns at the ball and the fine supper stimulate the sense of color, beauty, and taste. The sugar-panes and gingerbread roof of the Witch's House, in Hansel and Grethel, stir the child's kindred taste for sweets and cookies. The Gingerbread Boy, with his chocolate jacket, his cinnamon buttons, currant eyes, rose-sugar mouth, orange-candy cap, and gingerbread shoes, makes the same strong sense appeal. There is a natural attraction for the child in the beautiful interior of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, in the lovely perfume of roses in the Beast's Rose-Garden, in the dance and song of the Elves, and in the dance of the Goat and her seven Kids about the well.
The beautiful. Closely related to this love of the material is the sense of the beautiful. "Beauty is pleasure regarded as the quality of a thing," says Santayana. Pleasures of the eye and ear, of the imagination and memory, are those most easily objectified, and form the groundwork on which all higher beauty rests. The green of the spring, the odor of Red Riding Hood's flowers, the splendor of the Prince's ball in Cinderella—these when perceived distinctly are intelligible, and when perceived delightfully are beautiful. Language is a kind of music, too; the mode of speaking, the sound of letters, the inflection of the voice—all are elements of beauty. But this material beauty is tied up in close association with things "eye hath not seen nor ear heard," the moral beauty of the good and the message of the true. The industry of the little Elves reflects the worth of honest effort of the two aged peasants, and the dance of the Goat and seven Kids reflects the triumph of mother wit and the sharpness of love. The good, the true, and the beautiful are inseparably linked in the tale, just as they forever grow together in the life of the child. The tales differ largely in the element of beauty they present. Among those conspicuous for beauty may be mentioned Andersen's Thumbelina; the Indian How the Sun, the Moon, and West Wind Went Out to Dinner; the Japanese Mezumi, the Beautiful; and the English Robin's Christmas Song. Little Two-Eyes stands out as one containing a large element of beauty, and Oeyvind and Marit represents in an ideal way the possible union of the good, the true, and the beautiful. This union of the good, the true, and the beautiful has been expressed by an old Persian legend: "In the midst of the light is the beautiful, in the midst of the beautiful is the good, in the midst of the good is God, the Eternal One."
Wonder, mystery, magic. The spirit of wonder, like a will-o'-the-wisp, leads on through a fairy tale, enticing the child who follows, knowing that something will happen, and wondering what. When magic comes in he is gratified because some one becomes master of the universe—Cinderella, when she plants the hazel bough, and later goes to the wishing-tree; the fairy godmother, when with her wand she transforms a pumpkin to a gilded coach and six mice to beautiful gray horses; Little Two-Eyes, when she says,—
Little kid, bleat, I wish to eat!
and immediately her little table set with food so marvelously appears; or Hop-o'-my-Thumb when he steps into his Seven-League Boots and goes like the wind.
Adventure. This is a form of curiosity. In the old tale, as the wood was the place outside the usual habitation, naturally it was the place where things happened. Often there was a house in the wood, like the one "amidst the forest darkly green," where Snow White lived with the Dwarfs. This adventure the little child loves for its own sake. Later, when he is about eleven or twelve, he loves it for its motive. This love of adventure is part of the charm of Red Riding Hood, of the Three Bears, of the Three Pigs, or of any good tale you might mention.
Success. The child likes the fairy tale to tell him of some one who succeeds. He admires the little pig Speckle who outwitted the Wolf in getting to the field of turnips first, or in going to the apple tree at Merry-Garden, or to the fair at Shanklin; who built his house of brick which would defy assault; and whose cleverness ended the Wolf's life. This observation of success teaches the child to admire masterliness, to get the motto, Age quod agis, stamped into his child life from the beginning. It influences character to follow such conduct as that of the Little Red Hen, who took a grain of wheat,—her little mite,—who planted it, reaped it, made it into bread, and then ate it; who, in spite of the Goose and the Duck, secured to herself the reward of her labors.
Action. Akin to his love of running, skipping, and jumping, to his enjoyment in making things go and in seeing others make things go, is the child's desire for action in his fairy tales; and this is just another way of saying he wants his fairy tales to parallel life. Action is the special charm of the Gingerbread Boy, who opened the oven door and so marvelously ran along, outrunning an old Man, an old Woman, a little Boy, two Well-Diggers, two Ditch-Diggers, a Bear, and a Wolf, until he met the Fox waiting by the corner of the fence. Dame Wiggins of Lee and Her Seven Wonderful Cats—a humorous tale written by Mrs. Sharp, a lady of ninety, edited by John Ruskin, who added the third, fourth, eighth, and ninth stanzas, and illustrated by Kate Greenaway—has this pleasing trait of action to a unique degree. So also has The Cock, the Mouse, and the Little Red Hen, a modern tale by Felicite Lefevre. This very popular tale among children is a retelling of two old tales combined, The Little Red Hen and the Irish Little Rid Hin.
Humor. The child loves a joke, and the tale that is humorous is his special delight. Humor is the source of pleasure in Billy Bobtail, where the number of animals and the noises they make fill the tale with hilarious fun. There is most pleasing humor in Lambikin. Here the reckless hero frolicked about on his little tottery legs. On his way to Granny's house, as he met the Jackal, the Vulture, the Tiger, and the Wolf, giving a little frisk, he said,—
To Granny's house I go, Where I shall fatter grow, Then you can eat me so!
Later, on returning, when the animals asked, "Have you seen Lambikin?" cozily settled within his Drumikin, laughing and singing to himself, he called out slyly—
Lost in the forest, and so are you, On, little Drumikin! Tum-pa, turn-too!
Humor is the charm, too, of Andersen's Snow Man. Here the child can identify himself with the Dog and thereby join in the sport which the Dog makes at the Snow Man's expense, just as if he himself were enlightening the Snow Man about the Sun, the Moon, and the Stove. There is most delightful humor in The Cat and the Mouse in Partnership, where the Cat has the face to play upon the credulity of the poor housekeeper Mouse, who always "stayed at home and did not go out into the daytime." Returning home from his ventures abroad he named the first kitten Top-Off, the second one Half-Out, and the third one All-Out; while instead of having attended the christening of each, as he pretended, he secretly had been visiting the jar of fat he had placed for safe-keeping in the church.
Poetic justice. Emotional satisfaction and moral satisfaction based on emotional instinct appeal to the child. He pities the plight of the animals in the Bremen Town Musicians, and he wants them to find a refuge, a safe home. He is glad that the robbers are chased out, his sense of right and wrong is satisfied. Poetic justice suits him. This is one reason why fairy tales make a more definite impression often than life—because in the tale the retribution follows the act so swiftly that the child may see it, while in life "the mills of the gods grind slowly," and even the adult who looks cannot see them grind. The child wants Cinderella to gain the reward for her goodness; and he wishes the worthy Shoemaker and his Wife, in the Elves and the Shoemaker, to get the riches their industry deserves.
The imaginative. Fairy tales satisfy the activity of the child's imagination and stimulate his fancy. Some beautiful spring day, perhaps, after he has enjoyed an excursion to a field or meadow or wood, he will want to follow Andersen's Thumbelina in her travels. He will follow her as she floats on a lily pad, escapes a frog of a husband, rides on a butterfly, lives in the house of a field-mouse, escapes a mole of a husband, and then rides on the back of a friendly swallow to reach the south land and to become queen of the flowers. Here there is much play of fancy. But even when the episodes are homely and the situations familiar, as in Little Red Hen, the act of seeing them as distinct images and of following them with interest feeds the imagination. For while the elements are familiar, the combination is unusual; and this nourishes the child's ability to remove from the usual situation, which is the essential element in all originality. By entering into the life of the characters and identifying himself with them, he develops a large sympathy and a sense of power, he gains insight into life, and a care for the interests of the world. Thus imagination grows "in flexibility, in scope, and in sympathy, till the life which the individual lives is informed with the life of nature and of society," and acquires what Professor John Dewey calls Culture.
Animals. Very few of the child's fairy tales contain no animals. Southey said of a home: "A house is never perfectly furnished for enjoyment unless there is in it a child rising three years old and a kitten rising six weeks; kitten is in the animal world what a rose-bud is in a garden." In the same way it might be said of fairy tales: No tale is quite suited to the little child unless in it there is at least one animal. Such animal tales are The Bremen Town Musicians, Henny Penny, Ludwig and Marleen and The Elephant's Child. The episode of the hero or heroine and the friendly animal, as we find it retained in Two-Eyes and her little Goat, was probably a folk-lore convention—since dropped—common to the beginning of many of the old tales. It indicates how largely the friendly animal entered into the old stories.
A portrayal of human relations, especially with children. In Cinderella the child is held by the unkind treatment inflicted upon Cinderella by her Stepmother and the two haughty Sisters. He notes the solicitude of the Mother of the Seven Kids in guarding them from the Wolf. In the Three Bears he observes a picture of family life. A little child, on listening to The Three Pigs for the first time, was overwhelmed by one thought and cried out, "And didn't the Mother come home any more?" Naturally the child would be interested especially in children, for he is like the older boy, who, when looking at a picture-book, gleefully exclaimed, "That's me!" He likes to put himself in the place of others. He can do it most readily if the character is a small individual like Red Riding Hood who should obey her mother; or like Goldilocks who must not wander in the wood; or like Henny Penny who went to take a walk and was accosted by, "Where are you going?" In Brother Rabbit and the Little Girl the Little Girl takes the keenest enjoyment in putting herself in the customary grown-up's place of granting permission, while the Rabbit takes the usual child's place of mentioning a request with much persuasion. The child is interested, too, in the strange people he meets in the fairy tales: the clever little elves who lived in the groves and danced on the grass; the dwarfs who inhabited the earth-rocks and the hills; the trolls who dwelt in the wild pine forest or the rocky spurs, who ate men or porridge, and who fled at the noise of bells; the fairies who pleased with their red caps, green jackets, and sprightly ways; the beautiful fairy godmother who waved her wonderful wand; or those lovely fairy spirits who appeared at the moment when most needed—just as all best friends do—and who could grant, in a twinkling, the wish that was most desired.
The diminutive. This pleasure in the diminutive is found in the interest in the fairy characters, Baby Bear, Little Billy-Goat, Little Pig, the Little Elves, Teeny Tiny, Thumbelina, and Tom Thumb, as well as in tiny objects. In the Tale of Tom Thumb the child is captivated by the miniature chariot drawn by six small mice, the tiny butterfly-wing shirt and chicken-skin boots worn by Tom, and the small speech produced by him at court, when asked his name:—
My name is Tom Thumb, From the Fairies I come; When King Arthur shone, This court was my home. In me he delighted, By him I was knighted. Did you never hear of Sir Thomas Thumb?
Doll i' the Grass contains a tiny chariot made from a silver spoon and drawn by two white mice, and Little Two-Eyes gives a magic table. The child takes keen delight in the fairy ship which could be folded up and put into a pocket, and in the wonderful nut-shell that could bring forth beautiful silver and gold dresses. The little wagon of Chanticleer and Partlet that took them a trip up to the hill, and the tiny mugs and beds, table and plates, of Snow White's cottage in the wood—such as these all meet the approval of child-nature.
Rhythm and repetition. The child at first loves sound; later he loves sound and sense, or meaning. Repetition pleases him because he has limited experience and is glad to come upon something he has known before. He observes and he wants to compare, but it is a job. Repetition saves him a task and boldly proclaims, "We are the same." Such is the effect of the repetitive expressions which we find in Teeny Tiny: as, "Now when the teeny-tiny woman got home to her teeny-tiny house, she was a teeny-tiny bit tired"; or, in Little Jack Rollaround, who cried out with such vigorous persistence, "Roll me around!" and called to the moon, "I want the people to see me!" In The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings, one of the pleasantest tales for little children, the White Rabbit said to his Mammy, "Oh, Mammy, I wish I had a long gray tail like Bushy Tail's; I wish I had a back full of bristles like Mr. Porcupine's; I wish I had a pair of red rubbers like Miss Puddleduck's." At last, when he beheld the tiny red-bird at the Wishing-Pond, he said, "Oh, I wish I had a pair of little red wings!" Then, after getting his wings, when he came home at night and his Mammy no longer knew him, he repeated to Mr. Bushy Tail, Miss Puddleduck, and old Mr. Ground Hog, the same petition to sleep all night, "Please, kind Mr. Bushy Tail, may I sleep in your house all night?" etc. Repetition here aids the child in following the characters, the story, and its meaning. It is a distinct help to unity and to clearness.
The Elephant's Child is an example of how the literary artist has used this element of repetition, and used it so wonderfully that the form is the matter and the tale cannot be told without the artist's words. "'Satiable curtiosity," "the banks of the great, grey-green, greasy, Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees," and "'Scuse me," are but a few of those expressions for which the child will watch as eagerly as one does for a signal light known to be due. The repetition of the one word, "curtiosity," throughout the tale, simply makes the point of the whole story and makes that point delightfully impressive.
Rhythm and repetition also make a bodily appeal, they appeal to the child's motor sense and instinctively get into his muscles. This is very evident in Brother Rabbit's Riddle:—
De big bird bob en little bird sing; De big bee zoon en little bee sting, De little man lead en big hoss foller— Kin you tell wat 's good fer a head in a holler?
The song in Brother Rabbit and the Little Girl appeals also to the child's sense of sound:—
De jay-bird hunt de sparrer-nes; De bee-martin sail all 'roun'; De squer'l, he holler from de top er de tree, Mr. Mole, he stay in de ground; He hide en he stay twel de dark drap down— Mr. Mole, he hide in de groun'.
The simple and the sincere. The child's taste for the simple and the sincere is one reason for the appeal which Andersen's tales make. In using his stories it is to be remembered that, although Andersen lacked manliness in being sentimental, he preserved the child's point of view and gave his thought in the true nursery story's mode of expression. Since real sentiment places the emphasis on the object which arouses feeling and the sentimental places the emphasis on the feeling, sincerity demands that in using Andersen's tales, one lessen the sentimental when it occurs by omitting to give prominence to the feeling. Andersen's tales reflect what is elementary in human nature, childlike fancy, and emotion. His speech is characterized by the simplest words and conceptions, an avoidance of the abstract, the use of direct language, and a naive poetic expression adapted to general comprehension. He is not to be equaled in child conversations. The world of the fairy tale must be simple like the world Andersen has given us. It must be a world of genuine people and honest occupations in order to form a suitable background for the supernatural. Only fairy tales possessing simplicity are suited to the oldest kindergarten child of five or six years. To the degree that the child is younger than five years, he should be given fewer and fewer fairy tales. Those given should be largely realistic stories of extreme simplicity.
Unity of effect. The little child likes the short tale, for it is a unity he can grasp. If you have ever listened to a child of five spontaneously attempting to tell you a long tale he has not grasped, and have observed how the units of the tale have become confused in the mind that has not held the central theme, you then realize how harmful it is to give a child too long a story. Unity demands that there be no heaping up of sensations, but neat, orderly, essential incidents, held together by one central idea. The tale must go to the climax directly. It must close according to Uncle Remus's idea when he says, "De tale ain't persoon atter em no furder don de place whar dey [the characters] make der disappear'nce." It will say what it has to say and lose no time in saying it; and often it will attempt to say only one thing. It will be remarkable as well for what it omits as for what it tells. The Norse Doll i' the Grass well illustrates this unity. Boots set out to find a wife and found a charming little lassie who could spin and weave a shirt in one day, though of course the shirt was tiny. He took her home and then celebrated his wedding with the pleasure of the king. This unity, which is violated in Grimm's complicated Golden Bird, appears pleasantly in The Little Pine Tree that Wished for New Leaves. Here one feeling dominates the tale, the Pine Tree was no longer contented. So she wished, first for gold leaves, next for glass leaves, and then for leaves like those of the oaks and maples. But the robber who stole her gold leaves, the storm that shattered her glass leaves, and the goat that ate her broad green leaves, changed her feeling of discontent, until she wished at last to have back her slender needles, green and fair, and awoke next morning, happy and contented.
Fairy tales for little children must avoid certain elements opposed to the interests of the very young child. Temperaments vary and one must be guided by the characteristics of the individual child. But while the little girl with unusual power of visualization, who weeps on hearing of Thumbling's travels down the cow's mouth in company with the hay, may be the exception, she proves the rule: the little child generally should not have the tale that creates an emotion of horror or deep feeling of pain. This standard would determine what tales should not be given to the child of kindergarten age:—
The tale of the witch. The witch is too strange and too fearful for the child who has not learned to distinguish the true from the imaginative. This would move Hansel and Grethel into the second-grade work and Sleeping Beauty preferably into the work of the first grade. The child soon gains sufficient experience so that later the story impresses, not the strangeness.
The tale of the dragon. This would eliminate Siegfried and the Dragon. A dragon is too fearful a beast and produces terror in the heart of the child. Tales of heroic adventure with the sword are not suited to his strength. He has not yet entered the realm of bold adventure where Perseus and Theseus and Hercules display their powers. The fact that hero-tales abound in delightful literature is not adequate reason for crowding the Rhinegold Legends, Wagner Stories, and Tales of King Arthur, into the kindergarten. Their beauty and charm do not make it less criminal to present to little children such a variety of images as knighthood carries with it. These tales are not sufficiently simple for the little child, and must produce a mental confusion and the crudest of returns.
Giant tales. This would omit Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack the Giant-Killer, and Tom Hickathrift, moving them up into the primary field. A little girl, when eating tongue, confidingly asked, "Whose tongue?" and when told, "A cow's," immediately questioned with tenderness, "Don't he feel it?" Thereafter she insisted that she didn't like tongue. To a child of such sensibilities the cutting off of heads is savage and gruesome and should not be given a chance to impress so prominently. Life cannot be without its strife and struggle, but the little child need not meet everything in life at once. This does not mean that absolutely no giant tale would be used at this time. The tale of Mr. Miacca, in which "little Tommy couldn't always be good and one day went round the corner," is a giant tale which could be used with young children because it is full of delightful humor. Because of the simplicity of Tommy's language and his sweet childishness it appeals to the child's desire to identify himself with the character. Tommy is so clever and inventive and his lively surprises so brimful of fun that the final effect is entirely pleasing.
Some tales of transformation. The little child is not pleased but shocked by the transformation of men into animals. A little girl, on looking at an illustration of Little Brother and Sister, remarked, "If my Sister would turn into a fawn I would cry." When the animals are terrifying, the transformation contains horror for the child. This, together with the length and complexity of the story, would move Beauty and the Beast up into the second grade where the same transformation becomes an element of pleasure. A simple tale of transformation, such as The Little Lamb and the Little Fish, in which Gretchen becomes a lamb and Peterkin a little fish, is interesting but not horrible, and could be used. So also could a tale such as Grimm's Fundevogel, in which the brother and sister escape the pursuit of the witch by becoming, one a rosebush and the other a rose; later, one a church and the other a steeple; and a third time, one a pond and the other a duck. In both these tales we have the witch and transformation, but the effect contains no horror.
The tale of strange animal relations and strange creatures. Tom Tit Tot, which Jacobs considers the most delightful of all fairy tales, is brimful of humor for the older child, but here the tailed man is not suited to the faith and understanding of six years. Rumpelstiltskin, its parallel, must also be excluded. The House in the Wood, and its Norse parallel, The Two Step-Sisters, are both very beautiful, but are more suited to the second grade. In the kindergarten it is much better to present the tale which emphasizes goodness, rather than the two just mentioned, which present the good and the bad and show what happens to both. Besides there is a certain elation resulting from the superior reward won by the good child which crowds out any pity for the erring child. Such elation is a form of selfishness and ought not to be emphasized. Snow White and Rose Red contains the strange dwarf, but it is a tale so full of love and goodness and home life that in spite of its length it could be used in the first grade.
Unhappy tales. The very little child pities, and its tender heart must be protected from depressing sadness as unrelieved as we find it in The Little Match Girl. The image of suffering impressed on a child, who cannot forget the sight of a cripple for days, is too intense to be healthful. The sorrow of the poor is one of the elements of life that even the very little child meets, and it is legitimate that his literature should include tales that call for compassion. But in a year or two, when he develops less impressionability and more poise, he is better prepared to meet such situations, as he must meet them in life.
The tale of capture. This would eliminate Proserpine. No more beautiful myth exists than this one of the springtime, but its beauty and its symbolism do not make it suitable for the kindergarten. It is more suited to the elementary child of the fourth grade. In fact, very few myths of any sort find a legitimate place in the kindergarten, perhaps only a few of the simpler pourquois tales. The Legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, which is very beautiful, and appeals to little children because of the piping and of the children following after, should be omitted from the kindergarten because the capture at the close—the disappearance of the children in the hill—is tragic in pathos. It is better to leave the literature as it is and offer it later when the child reaches the second grade. The effect of this tragic end has been realized by Josephine Scribner Gates, who (St. Nicholas, November, 1914) has given to the children, "And Piped Those Children Back Again." This is a modern completion of The Pied Piper. It most happily makes the little lame boy who was left in Hamelin when the Piper closed the door of the mountain, the means of the restoration of the other children to their parents.
The very long tale. This would omit The Ugly Duckling. The Ugly Duckling is a most artistic tale and one that is very true to life. Its characters are the animals of the barn-yard, the hens and ducks familiar to the little child's experience. But the theme and emotional interest working out at length through varied scenes, make it much better adapted to the capacities of a third-grade child. The White Cat, a feminine counterpart of Puss-in-Boots—which gives a most charming picture of how a White Cat, a transformed princess, helped a youth, and re-transformed became his bride—because of its length, is better used in the first grade at the same time with Puss-in-Boots. The same holds true of Peter, Paul, and Espen, or its parallel, Laboulaye's Poucinet. This is a fine tale telling how the youngest of three sons succeeded in winning the king's favor and finally the princess and half the kingdom. First, Espen had to cut down the giant oak that shadowed the palace and dig a well in the courtyard of the castle deep enough to furnish water the entire year. But after winning in these tests, he is required to conquer a great Ogre who dwells in the forest, and later to prove himself cleverer in intellect than the princess by telling the greater falsehood. It is evident that not only the subject-matter but the working out of the long plot are much beyond kindergarten children.
The complicated or the insincere tale. This would eliminate a tale of complicated structure, such as Grimm's Golden Bird; and many of the modern fairy tales, which will be dealt with later on.
The fairy tales mentioned above are all important tales which the child should receive at a later time when he is ready for them. They are mentioned because they all have been suggested for kindergarten use. The whole field of children's literature is largely unclassified and ungraded as yet, and such arrangements as we possess show slight respect for standards. There is abundant material for the youngest, and much will be gained by omitting to give the very young what they will enjoy a little later, much better and with freshness. It is true that a few classics are well-suited to the child at any age, such as Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Books, and Uncle Remus Tales. In regard to this grading of the classics, Lamb in Mackery End, speaking of his sister's education, said, "She was tumbled early, by accident or design, into a spacious closet of good old English reading, without much selection or prohibition, and browsed at will upon that fair and wholesome pasturage. Had I twenty girls they should be brought up exactly in this fashion." Lamb would have argued: Set the child free in the library and let him choose for himself, and feed on great literature, those stories which give general types of situation and character, which give the simplest pictures of a people at different epochs. But with all due respect to Lamb it must be said that Lamb is not living in this scientific day of discovery of the child's personality and of accurate attention to the child's needs. Because the Odyssey is a great book and will give much to any child does not prove at all that the same child would not be better off by reading it when his interests reach its life. This outlook on the problem would eliminate the necessity of having the classics rewritten from a new moral viewpoint, which is becoming a custom now-a-days, and which is to be frowned upon, for it deprives the literature of much of its vigor and force.
II. THE FAIRY TALE AS LITERATURE
From the point of view of the child, we have seen that in a subjective sense, fairy tales must contain the interests of children. In an objective sense, rather from the point of view of literature, let us now consider what fairy tales must contain, what are the main standards which determine the value of fairy tales as literature, and as such, subject-matter of real worth to the child.
The old tale will not always be perfect literature; often it will be imperfect, especially in form. Yet the tale should be selected with the standards of literature guiding in the estimate of its worth and in the emphasis to be placed upon its content. Such relating of the tale to literary standards would make it quite impossible later in the primary grades when teaching the reading of Three Pigs, to put the main stress on a mere external like the expression of the voice. A study of the story as literature would have centered the attention on the situation, the characters, and the plot. If the voice is receiving training in music and in the phonics of spelling, then when the reading of the tale is undertaken it will be a willing servant to the mind which is concentrating on the reality, and will express what the thought compels.
The fairy tale first must be a classic in reality even if it lacks the crowning touch of perfect form given through the re-treatment of a literary artist. In Reynard the Fox we have an exact example of the folk-tale that has been elevated into literature. But this was possible only because the tales originally possessed the qualities of a true classic. "A true classic," Sainte-Beuve has said, "is one which enriches the human mind, has increased its treasure and caused it to advance a step, which has discovered some moral and unequivocal truth or revealed some eternal passion in that heart where all seemed known and discovered; which is an expression of thought, observation, or invention, in no matter what form, only provided it be broad and great, refined and sensible, sane and beautiful in itself; which speaks in its own peculiar style which is found to be also that of the whole world, a style new and old, easily contemporary with all time." Immediately some of the great fairy tales stand out as answering to this test—Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Jack the Giant-Killer,—which has been said to be the epitome of the whole life of man—Beauty and the Beast, and a crowd of others. Any fairy tale which answers to the test of a real classic must, like these, show itself to contain for the child a permanent enrichment of the mind.
Fairy tales must have certain qualities which belong to all literature as a fine art, whether it is the literature of knowledge or the literature of power. Literature is not the book nor is it life; but literature is the sense of life, whose artist is the author, and the medium he uses is words, language. It is good art when his sense of life is truth, and fine art when there is beauty in that truth. The one essential beauty of literature is in its essence and does not depend upon any decoration. As words are the medium, literature will distinguish carefully among them and use them as the painter, for particular lights and shades. According to Pater literature must have two qualities, mind and soul. Literature will have mind when it has that architectural sense of structure which foresees the end in the beginning and keeps all the parts related in a harmonious unity. It will have soul when it has that "vagrant sympathy" which makes it come home to us and which makes it suggest what it does not say. Test the Tale of Cinderella by this standard. As to mind, it makes one think of a bridge in which the very keystone of the structure is the condition that Cinderella return from the ball by the stroke of twelve. And its "vagrant sympathy" is quite definite enough to reach a maid of five, who remarked: "If I'd have been Cinderella, I wouldn't have helped those ugly sisters, would you?"
If the fairy tale stands the test of literature it must have proved itself, not only a genuine classic according to Sainte-Beuve's standard, and a tale possessing qualities of mind and soul according to Pater's Style, but it must have shown itself also a work owning certain features distinguishing it as literature. These particular literary marks which differentiate the literary tale from the ordinary prose tale have been pointed out by Professor Winchester in his Principles of Literary Criticism. They apply to the old tale of primitive peoples just as well as to the modern tale of to-day. As literature the tale must have:
(1) a power to appeal to the emotions;
(2) a power to appeal to the imagination;
(3) a basis of truth; and
(4) a form more or less perfect.
(1) A power to appeal to the emotions. This appeal to the emotions is its unique distinguishing literary trait. Literature appeals, not to the personal emotions but to the universal ones. For this reason, through literature the child may come in time to develop a power of universal sympathy, which is not the least value literature has to bestow upon him, for this sympathy will become a benediction to all those with whom he may have to deal. In order that emotion in the tales may be literary—make a permanent appeal—according to Professor Winchester's standards, it must have justness given by a deep and worthy cause; vividness so that it may enlarge and thrill; a certain steadiness produced by everything in the tale contributing to the main emotion; a variety resulting from contrasts of character; and a high quality obtained through its sympathy with life and its relation to the conduct of life, so that the feeling for the material beauty of mere sights and sounds is closely related to the deepest suggestions of moral beauty. The best literary tales will possess emotion having all five characteristics. Many tales will exhibit one or more of these traits conspicuously. No tale that is literature will be found which does not lay claim to some one of these qualities which appeal to the broadly human emotions.
Applying the test of emotion to fairy tales, Cinderella possesses a just emotion, Cinderella's cause is the cause of goodness and kindness and love, and deserves a just reward. The Town Musicians of Bremen exhibits vivid emotion, for all four characters are in the same desperate danger of losing life, all four unite to save it, and to find a home. Andersen's Steadfast Tin Soldier is a good example of steadiness of emotion, as it maintains throughout its message of courage. The Tin Soldier remained steadfast, whether on the table just escaped from the toy-box, or in the street after a frightful fall from the window, or spinning in a paper boat that bobbed, or sailing under the crossing, or lying at full length within the fish that swallowed him, or at last melting in the full glare of the hearth fire. It is a very good example, too, of vividness of emotion. The Little Elves illustrates steadiness of emotion, it is pervaded by the one feeling, that industry deserves reward. The French tale, Drakesbill, is especially delightful and humorous because "Bill Drake" perseveres in his happy, fresh vivacity, at the end of every rebuff of fortune, and triumphantly continues his one cry of, "Quack, quack, quack! When shall I get my money back?" Lambikin leaves the one distinct impression of light gaiety and happy-heartedness; and The Foolish, Timid Rabbit preserves steadily the one effect of the credulity of the animals, made all the more prominent by contrast to the wisdom of the Lion. Variety of emotion appears in tales such as Cinderella, Little Two-Eyes, Sleeping Beauty, and Three Pigs, where the various characters are drawn distinctly and their contrasting traits produce varied emotional effects. All the great fairy tales appeal to emotion of a high moral quality and it is this which is the source of their universal appeal. It is this high moral quality of the spiritual truth, which is the center of the tale's unity, holding together all the parts under one emotional theme. This is the source of the perennial freshness of the old tale; for while the immortal truth it presents is old, the personality of the child that meets it is new. For the child, the tale is new because he discovers in it a bit of himself he had not known before, and it retains for him a lasting charm so that he longs to hear it again and again. The beauty of truth, the reward of goodness, and the duty of fairness, give a high emotional quality to Little Two-Eyes; and Sleeping Beauty illustrates the blighting power of hatred to impose a curse and the saving power of love to overcome the works of hatred.
Considering folk-tales from the standpoint of emotion, if asked to suggest what author's work would rank in the same class, one is rather surprised to find, that for high moral quality, variety, and worthy cause, the author who comes to mind is none other than Shakespeare. Perhaps, with all due respect to literature's idol, one might even venture to question which receives honor by the comparison, Shakespeare or the folk-tales? It might be rather a pleasant task to discover who is the Cordelia, the Othello, the Rosalind, and the Portia of the folk-tales; or who the Beauty, the Bluebeard, the Cinderella, the Puss-in-Boots, and the Hop-o'-my-Thumb, of Shakespeare.
The little child is open to emotional appeal, his heart is tender and he is impressionable. If he feels with the characters in his tales he develops a power of emotion. In Andersen's Snow Man it is hard to say which seems more human to him or which makes more of an emotional appeal, the Snow Man or the Dog. He is sorry for the poor Shoemaker in The Little Elves, glad when he grows rich, delighted for the Elves when they receive their presents, and satisfied at the happy end. Since literature depicts life and character in order to awaken noble emotions, it follows that one must omit to present what awakens repulsive or degrading emotions. And it is for this reason, as has been mentioned under the heading "Elements to be avoided," that the tales of the witch and the dragon must be excluded, not for all time, but for the earliest years, when they awaken horror.
Through fairy tales we have seen that the emotional power of the child is strengthened. This has been effected because, in the tale just as truly as in life, action is presented in real situations; and back of every action is the motive force of emotion. This cumulative power of emotion, secured by the child through the handling of tales, will serve daily a present need. It will be the dynamic force which he will require for anything he wishes to accomplish in life. It will give the child the ability to use it in any situation similar to that in which it was acquired. It will make a difference in his speech; he will not have to say so much, for what he does say will produce results. This growing power of emotion will carry over into feelings of relation and thus lead to judgment of values. This evaluation is the basis of reasoning and answers to the child's daily call to think from causes to consequences. This increasing power of emotion develops into the aesthetic sensibilities and so results in a cultivation of taste and an understanding of life. Emotion therefore leads to appreciation, which, when logically developed, becomes expression. Fairy tales, thus, in conducting emotional capacity through this varied growth and toward this high development, hold an educational value of no mean order.
(2) The power to appeal to the imagination. Emotion can be aroused by showing the objects which excite emotion. Imagination is this power to see and show things in the concrete. Curry says, "Whenever the soul comes vividly in contact with any fact, truth, etc., whenever it takes them home to itself with more than common intensity, out of that meeting of the soul and its object there arises a thrill of joy, a glow of feeling. It is the faculty that can create ideal presence." When through imagination we select spontaneously from the elements of experience and combine into new wholes, we call it creative imagination.—The creative imagination will be viewed here as it appears in action in the creative return given by the child to his fairy tales.—When we emphasize a similarity seen in mere external or accidental relations or follow suggestions not of an essential nature in the object, we call it fancy. Ruskin, in his Modern Painters, vol. I, part III, Of the Imaginative Faculty, would distinguish three classes of the imagination:—
(a) The associative imagination. This is the power of imagination by which we call into association other images that tend to produce the same or allied emotion. When this association has no common ground of emotion it is fancy. The test for the associative imagination, which has the power to combine ideas to form a conception, is that if one part is taken away the rest of the combination goes to pieces. It requires intense simplicity, harmony, and absolute truth. Andersen's Fairy Tales are a perfect drill for the associative imagination. Literature parallels life and what is presented calls up individual experience. Any child will feel a thrill of kinship with the experiences given in The Tin Soldier—a little boy's birthday, the opening of the box, the counting of the soldiers, and the setting of them upon the table. And because here Andersen has transformed this usual experience with a vivacity and charm, the tale ranks high as a tale of imagination. Little Ida's Flowers and Thumbelina are tales of pure fancy. Grimm's The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean and The Spindle, the Shuttle, and the Needle rank in the same class, as also do the Norse The Doll i' the Grass and the English Tom Thumb.
(b) The penetrative imagination. This power of imagination shows the real character of a thing and describes it by its spiritual effects. It sees the heart and inner nature of things. Through fancy the child cannot reach this central viewpoint since fancy deals only with externals. Through the exercise of this power the child develops insight, intuition, and a perception of spiritual values, and gains a love of the ideal truth and a perpetual thirst for it. He develops genuineness, one of the chief virtues of originality. He will tend not to have respect for sayings or opinions but will seek the truth, be governed by its laws, and hold a passion for perfection. This power of imagination makes of him a continual seeker, "a pilgrim upon earth." Through the penetrative imagination the child forgets himself and enters into the things about him, into the doings of Three Pigs or the adventures of Henny Penny.
(c) The contemplative imagination. This is that special phase of the imagination that gives to abstract being consistency and reality. Through the contemplative imagination the child gains the significance of meaning and discerns the true message of the tale. When merely external resemblance is caught, when the likeness is forced, and the image created believed in, we have fancy. The contemplative imagination interprets the past in the tale and relates it to the future. It shows what is felt by indicating some aspect of what is seen. Through the exercise of this power the child develops the capacity to see. This capacity has received a high estimate from Ruskin, who said, "Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, thousands can think for one who can see." For language-training the capacity to see gives that ability to image words which results in mental growth.
The labor of the spirit seeking the full message of the fairy tale, often is rewarded with bits of philosophy which are the essence of its personal wisdom. Even the Woman Suffragists of our day might be amused to find, in The Cat and Mouse in Partnership, this side-light on one of their claims. The Mouse said she did not know what to think of the curious names, Top-off, Half-Out, and All-Out, which the Cat had chosen. To which the Cat replied, "That is because you always stay at home. You sit here in your soft gray coat and long tail, and these foolish whims get into your head. It is always the way when one does not go out in the daytime." Sometimes the philosophy of the tale is expressed not at all directly. This is the case in Andersen's The Emperor's New Suit, a gem in story-telling art—more suited to the second grade—where the purpose of the story is veiled, and the satire or humor is conveyed through a very telling word or two.—"'I will send my old, honest minister to the weavers,' thought the Emperor. And the old, honest minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working at empty looms. 'Heaven preserve me!' thought the old minister, opening his eyes wide. 'Why, I cannot see anything!'—But he did not say so." The entire tale is a concrete representation of one point; and the concreteness is so explicit that at the close of the story its philosophy easily forms itself into the implied message of worldly wisdom: People are afraid to speak truth concerning much through cowardice or through fear of acting otherwise than all the world. The philosophy underlying The Steadfast Tin Soldier is even finer as a bit of truth than the perfect art of the literary story: That what happens in life does not matter so much as the way you take it. The Tin Soldier always remained steadfast, no matter what happened. Kipling's Elephant's Child is more charming than ever when looked at from the standpoint of its philosophy. It might be interpreted as an allegory answering the question, "How should one get experience?" a theme which cannot be said to lack universal appeal. The Ugly Duckling is full of sayings of philosophy that contribute to its complete message. The Cat and the Hen to whom the duckling crept for refuge said, "We and the world," and could not bear a difference of opinion. "You may believe me," said the Hen, "because I tell you the truth. That is the way to tell your friends." Their treatment of the Duckling expressed the philosophy: "If you can't do what I can you're no good." The Hen said to him, "You have nothing to do, that's why you have such strange ideas." The Duckling expressed his philosophy by saying quietly, "You don't understand me."
These bits of philosophy often become compressed into expressions which to-day we recognize as proverbs. The words of the Mother Duck, "Into the water he goes if I have to kick him in," became a Scandinavian proverb. "A little bird told it," a common saying of to-day, appears in Andersen's Nightingale and in Thumbelina. But this saying is traceable at least to the third story of the fourth night in Straparola, translated by Keightley, The Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Beautiful Green Bird, in which the bird tells the King that his three guests are his own children. "Even a cat may look at a king," is probably traceable to some fairy tale if not to Puss-in-Boots. The philosophy in the fairy tales and the proverbs that have arisen in them, are subjects which offer to the adult much pleasure and fruitfulness.
But one must ask, "Does this philosophy appeal to the child? Is it not adult wisdom foreign to his immaturity?" The old folk-tales are the products of adult minds; but the adults were grown-ups that looked upon the world with the eyes of children, and their philosophy often was the philosophy of childhood. For childhood has its philosophy; but because it meets with repression on so many sides it usually keeps it to itself. When given freedom and self-activity and self-expression, the child's philosophy appears also. And it is the inner truth of the tale rather than the outer forms of sense and shapes of beauty which, when suited to the little child, appeals to this child-philosophy and makes the deepest impression upon him.
In the literary fairy tale there often appears a philosophy which is didactic and above and beyond the child's knowledge of the world. It remains a question how much this adult philosophy appeals to him. Although his tales were written for his grandchildren, so finished a telling of the tale as we find in Laboulaye, with its delightful hits of satire, appeals more to the grown-up versed in the ways of the world. But the sage remarks of worldly wisdom of Uncle Remus could not fail to impress a little boy: "Go where you will and when you may, and stay long ez you choosen ter stay, en right dar en den you'll sholy fin' dat folks what git full er consate en proudness is gwine ter git it tuck out 'm um."—Uncle Remus treated the little boy as if he was "pestered with sense, like grown-ups," and surely the little boy gained much amusement from sayings such as these: "If you know the man thab would refuse to take care of himself, I'd like mighty well if you'd point him out."—"Well, well," said Uncle Remus soothingly, "in deze low groun's er sorrer, you des got to lean back en make allowances fer all sorts er folks. You got ter low fer dem dat knows too much same ez dem what knows too little. A heap er sayin's en a heap er doin's in dis roun' worl' got ter be tuck on trus'."—The child does not get the full force of the philosophy but he gets what he can and that much sinks in.