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The Shoemaker's Apron A Second Book of Czechoslovak Fairy Tales and Folk Tales   By: (1878-1944)

The Shoemaker's Apron A Second Book of Czechoslovak Fairy Tales and Folk Tales by Parker Fillmore

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THE SHOEMAKER'S APRON

CZECHOSLOVAK FOLK and FAIRY TALES

PARKER FILLMORE

$3.50

THE SHOEMAKER'S APRON

A Book of Czechoslovak Fairy Tales and Folk Tales

Retold in English by PARKER FILLMORE.

With illustrations and decorations by JAN MATULKA.

A collection of twenty stories, drawn from original sources, and chosen for their variety of subject and range of interest. Here are fairy tales conceived with all the gorgeousness of the Slavic imagination; charming little nursery tales that might be told in nurseries the world over; folk tales illustrative of the wit of a canny people; and rollicking devil tales as surprising to the Anglo Saxon imagination as they are entertaining.

They are not in any sense academic translations, but vivid renditions by a man who, besides being a student of folklore, was an accomplished story teller in his own right.

Harcourt, Brace and Company

383 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK 17, N.Y.

THE SHOEMAKER'S APRON

A Second Book of Czechoslovak Fairy Tales and Folk Tales

RETOLD BY

PARKER FILLMORE

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND DECORATIONS BY

JAN MATULKA

[Illustration]

NEW YORK

HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY PARKER FILLMORE

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

[Illustration]

NOTE

The stories in this volume are all of Czech, Moravian, and Slovak origin, and are to be found in many versions in the books of folk tales collected by Erben, Nemcova, Kulda, Dobsinsky, Rimavsky, Benes Trebizsky, Miksicek. I got them first by word of mouth and afterwards hunted them out in the old books. My work has been that of retelling rather than translating since in most cases I have put myself in the place of a storyteller who knows several forms of the same story, equally authentic, and from them all fashions a version of his own. It is of course always the same story although told in one form to a group of children and in another form to a group of soldiers. The audience that I hope particularly to interest is the English speaking child.

Some few of the stories such as Nemcova's very beautiful Twelve Months and Erben's spirited Zlatovlaska and to a less degree Nemcova's hero tale, Vitazko are already in such definitive form that it would be profanation to "edit" them. They especially the first two have been told once and for all. But the same cannot be said of most of the other stories. Nemcova's renderings are too often diffuse and inconsequential, Kulda's dry, pedantic, and homiletic. Erben, the scholarly old archivist of Prague, seems to me the greatest literary artist of them all. His chief interest in folklore was philological, but he was a poet as well as a scholar and he carried his versions of the old stories from the realm of crude folklore to the realm of art.

A small number of the present tales have appeared in earlier English collections coming, nearly always, by way of German or French translations. In the one case they have been squeezed dry of their Slavic exuberance and in the other somewhat dandified. So I make no apology for offering them afresh.

Variants of most of the tales are, of course, to be found in other countries. Grimm's The White Snake , for instance, is a variant of Zlatovlaska . My rule of selection has been to take stories that do not have well known variants in other languages. I have to confess that The White Snake is very well known, but here I break my own rule on account of the greater beauty of the Slavic version.

In Grimm there are also to be found variants of A Gullible World (The Shrewd Farmer) , The Devil's Little Brother in Law (Bearskin) , Clever Manka (The Peasant's Clever Daughter) , The Devil's Gifts (The Magic Gifts) , The Candles of Life (The Strange Godfather and Godfather Death) , The Shoemaker's Apron (Brother Jolly) ... Continue reading book >>




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