Told Again: Old Tales Told Again (Oddly Modern Fairy Tales)
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Originally published in 1927, Told Again is an enchanting collection of elegant fairy tales, showcasing the formidable talents of a writer who used magical realism before the term had even been invented. Walter de la Mare (1873-1956) was one of the most celebrated writers of children's literature during the first half of the twentieth century--so much so that W. H. Auden edited a selection of his poems and British children could recite de la Mare's verses by heart. His abundant literary gifts can be savored once more in this new edition. With marvelous black and white illustrations by A. H. Watson, this volume includes a splendid introduction by Philip Pullman, the contemporary master of fantasy literature.
The significance of the nineteen adapted classics in Told Again lies in de la Mare's poetic insights and graceful prose, which--as Pullman indicates in his introduction--soften and sweeten the originals, making these tales appropriate for younger readers. In "The Four Brothers," the siblings allow the princess to choose her own husband rather than argue over her; and in "Rapunzel," de la Mare discreetly leaves out details of the prince's tortured, blind search for his love. Familiar stories, such as "Little Red Riding-Hood," "Rumplestiltskin," and "The Sleeping Beauty" are also made new through de la Mare's expansive, descriptive, and lyrical prose. Pullman covers important details about de la Mare's life and captures the stylistic intention behind the rewriting of these wonderful favorites.
Reviving the work of a writer who exemplified a romantic vision and imagination, Told Again is a remarkable retelling of fairy tales touched by mystery and magic.
his lips. “And what’ll I do with them?” he asked still more huskily. “Answering that,” said the man, “why, being magic, it’s not what you’ll do with them that matters, it’s what they’ll do with themselves.” Jack’s eyes seemed to twirl completely round in his head. “Right,” he said, “seven!” So the man counted out the seven beans into Jack’s palm, picking out the brightest colours and the best shapes, then, with a last solemn, friendly wink, he himself turned one way with the old cow, and Jack
glass, marbles, crystals, and quartz, and that his young eyes in particular would be overjoyed at sight of this new bauble. Then he raised his face, looked steadily at his visitor, and asked him what favour he could confer on him in return and as a mark of his bounty. The rich man shivered all over with joy; he didn’t know where to look; he opened his mouth like a fish, then, like a fish, shut it again. At last he managed to blurt out that even the very smallest thing the King might be pleased
a strange sight she was. But the moment the old woman had gone into the house, the poor old cow slipped on the thatch, and down she came, dangling by the rope round her neck, and was strangled. As for the old woman tied up to the rope by her arm inside the house, when the cow came down, up went she, and was jammed up inside the chimney and smothered in the soot. Then of course the neighbours came running out; and the gentleman rode off on his horse; and as he went he thought to himself: “Well,
he took up the hare into his arms, and went into the town. It was market day and there was a fair. At some distance from the beating of the drums and the piping and the press of people, the Fox took up his station close to the entry of the market-place which was nearest to the King’s palace. Here he waited patiently in the posture of a blind man begging for alms, the mountain hare clasped close within his arms. Now the Princess at this hour, as the Fox well knew, was sitting in her ebony and
“Well,” said the ass, “I must confess, friends, I could munch up a loaf of fine white bread. Ay, and say grace after it.” The old hound’s mouth watered as he thought of chicken bones; and Grimalkin’s whiskers twitched with rapture at the memory not only of the rich soup and cream she had seen on the table, but, above all, a dish of boned, broiled fish. Then the cock said: “Let’s give them a stave of our music, my friends. Perhaps, robbers though they be, and though they may all live to be