This bold and eclectic anthology opens with the story of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ who each night row across the lake with their captured princes, and closes with a timeless epic of war and heroism, ‘The Story of Sigurd’, taken from William Morris’s version of The Volsunga Saga. In between are morality tales and animal fables, chilling ghost stories, tongue-in-cheek romances, classics like ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and ‘Rapunzel’, little-known stories such as ‘The True History of Little Goldenhood’, which offers a twist on the traditional Red Riding Hood story.
The beautifully detailed drawings by Niroot Puttapipat adorning this volume recall the very best of classic fairy tale illustrations. Whether handsome princes, beautiful maidens or hens laying golden eggs, the magic of each is perfectly evoked.
As I read the stories, the book itself took off: the solid object made of paper and boards became light and transparent, a winged vehicle.
Andrew Lang began gathering fairy tales in the late 19th century with the aim of conserving ‘the old stories that have pleased so many generations’.
Conjuring a universe where stepmothers are invariably wicked, ogres have insatiable appetites and heroes face impossible odds, these stories can arouse fear and apprehension, yet evoke a spirit of wonder and adventure which remains the key to their universal appeal. These sumptuous Folio Society editions include over 160 tales gathered by Lang from around the world.
‘Once upon a time…’ For readers everywhere, these familiar words hold the promise of transport to a land full of marvels and magic, a world of enchanted forests and cobwebbed castles, of giants, witches, kidnapped princesses and caskets brimming with precious gems; a world of startling contrasts, where fate can deal a cruel blow yet wishes can also come true. Andrew Lang’s Rainbow Fairy Books remain the greatest collection of such tales in the English language, celebrated for their breadth, variety, and clear, lively prose. In these Folio editions they provide a showcase for the work of some of our most talented illustrators.