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The Fairy Godmothers and Other Tales   By: (1809-1873)

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Col miele, e non coll' aceto si piglian le mosche.

Italian Proverb .

To My Children

These tales are most affectionately dedicated. They were written in hours of sickness, but are intended to be read by the healthy and joyous young: and to illustrate some favourite and long cherished convictions.

Margaret Gatty.

Ecclesfield Vicarage, 27th March, 1851.


The Fairy Godmothers

Joachim the Mimic

Darkness and Light

The Love of God

The design for the Frontispiece which adorns this volume is by the pencil of the writer's kind and highly gifted friend, Miss Lucette E. Barker.


In one of the beautiful bays on the coast of Fairy Land, a party of Fairies was assembled on a lovely evening in July. There are many beautiful bays on the coast of England, and there is one especially, my dear little readers, which you and I know of, where a long line of grand old rocks stretches far into the sea on the left hand extremity, while in the distance to the right a warning lighthouse with its changing lights gives an almost solemn beauty to the scene; for one cannot help thinking, at the sight of it, of the poor storm driven mariner, whom even that friendly light may fail to save from a sad and sudden death. But beautiful as this little bay is, of which I speak, and fond as we are of it, it is nothing, I do assure you, compared to the bays in Fairy Land! There, there are no light houses reminding one painfully of danger and destruction near, but all is loveliness and peace; and even the rocks would be turned into soft pillows by the good natured Fairies who inhabit the country, should any strange accident drive a mortal ship on that shore.

Also the bays in Fairy Land face to the west, which is a great advantage, for in an evening there you may sit and watch the golden sun dipping behind the waves; and the rich red tints he sends out upon the rocks before he sets, are beyond measure beautiful and attractive. Especially, I believe, the Fairies enjoy this time of day, for they are odd little creatures, rather conceited, and fond of everything pretty; consequently they like to be floating about the rocks in their white dresses when the crimson and golden hues of sunset shine on them, knowing very well they look like so many bright flowers on the occasion.

The day I speak of however had been very hot, and at the time I speak of, the Fairies felt a little lazy and were reclining on some rocks covered with sea weed and amusing themselves by talking. In general the conversation of these little creatures is rather light and frivolous and gay; but it is really a fact that they were just then all serious together and all were engaged in a very profound conversation on human happiness.

I am sorry to have so many explanations to give, but I think it quite necessary to tell you the reason of so uncommon an event as a party of Fairies being serious. Well then, there were going to be, very shortly, several extremely gay christenings in the world, and some of the Fairies had been invited to attend at them as Godmothers, in order that they might bestow Fairy gifts on the different infants.

Four or five of the christenings were to take place the next day, and the Fairies who were going were discussing with each other what gifts they should bestow, and as their only object was to ensure the happiness of the children for whom they were interested, they naturally fell into a discourse as to what gifts were most likely to have so charming an effect. "Your Godchild is a girl too, I believe," said Euphrosyne to Ianthe [Fairies are privileged, you know, to have romantic names] "what do you think of bestowing upon her?" "Why," answered Ianthe, "the old story, I suppose BEAUTY: at least such was my intention, but if you can any of you show me I am wrong in supposing it a cause of happiness to the mortal race, why, I suppose I must give her ugliness instead... Continue reading book >>

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