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.
betide ye, Molly Whuppie, If ye e’er come back again!” 221 For years she pined in vain. 226 “I come, Rapunzel!” 228 Told Again Introduction Walter de la Mare’s reputation these days has sunk a little from what it was in my childhood fifty years or more ago. I dare say that every British child of my age will have heard, or read, and some of them will have learned by heart, his poem “The Listeners”: “Is there anybody there?” said the Traveller, Knocking on the moonlit door . . . It used
first he dodged this way and next he dodged that. But still the Ogre came after him, with his club up ready and yelling as he ran. Jack ran twice as fast that night as he had ever run in his life before, but still clutching tight hold of the magic Harp. And, what with the fleecy gleam of the moonlight up above and the music of the harp-strings and the roaring and bellowing of the Ogre down below, it was as if he were running in an unbelievable nightmare among a thousand silver waterfalls.
taught her how to knead dough for bread, and what green things are good for salad, and what roots and toadstools are fit for food. She was happy with the Seven Dwarfs, and sang over her work with such delight that the birds of the forest would flock there in a multitude and sing too, and she fed them with her crumbs and scraps. Now one day it seemed to the Queen, as she looked into her magic glass, that a faint line of care or foreboding had begun to show itself in the smoothness of her
for and must have?” The watchman looked at him, and seeing his young, simple face, pitied him; and himself led him down a staircase hewn out of the solid rock into the deepest of the King’s dungeons, where even the sun at noonday brought only a pallid bloom into its murk, and there he covered him up with straw. In due time, and as she had promised, the Princess opened her eyes again. She looked out of the first window of her chamber: nobody there. She looked out of the second: nobody there
and sighed, but soon began to snore again. Then Molly slid her fingers in a little bit further under his pillow. At this the giant called out in his sleep as if there were robbers near. And his wife said: “Lie easy, man! It’s those bones you had for supper.” Then Molly pushed in her fingers even a little bit further, and then they felt the purse. But as she drew out the purse from under the pillow, a gold piece dropped out of it and clanked on to the floor, and at sound of it the giant woke.