«In old times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face...» Household Tales is a collection of German fairy tales first published in 1812 by the Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm.
The work of the Brothers Grimm influenced other collectors, both inspiring them to collect tales and leading them to similarly believe, in a spirit of romantic nationalism, that the fairy tales of a country were particularly representative of it, to the neglect of cross-cultural influence.
The first volumes were much criticized because, although they were called "Children's Tales", they were not regarded as suitable for children, both for the scholarly information included and the subject matter.
«In the spring of 1829, the author of this work, whom curiosity had brought into Spain, made a rambling expedition from Seville to Granada in company with a friend, a member of the Russian Embassy at Madrid.
Accident had thrown us together from distant regions of the globe, and a similarity of taste led us to wander together among the romantic mountains of Andalusia...» Tales of the Alhambra is a collection of essays, verbal sketches, and stories by Washington Irving. Shortly after completing a biography of Christopher Columbus in 1828, Washington Irving traveled from Madrid, where he had been staying, to Granada, Spain. At first sight, he described it as "a most picturesque and beautiful city, situated in one of the loveliest landscapes that I have ever seen." Irving was preparing a book called A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, a history of the years 1478-1492, and was continuing his research on the topic. He immediately asked the then-governor of the historic Alhambra Palace as well as the archbishop of Granada for access to the palace, which was granted because of Irving's celebrity status.
«Baldy Woods reached for the bottle, and got it. Whenever Baldy went for anything he usually--but this is not Baldy's story. He poured out a third drink that was larger by a finger than the first and second. Baldy was in consultation; and the consultee is worthy of his hire...» O. Henry's stories frequently have surprise endings. In his day, he was called the American answer to Guy de Maupassant. While both authors wrote plot twist endings, O. Henry stories were considerably more playful. His stories are also known for witty narration.
Most of O. Henry's stories are set in his own time, the early 20th century. Many take place in New York City and deal for the most part with ordinary people: clerks, policemen, waitresses, etc.
O. Henry's work is wide-ranging, and his characters can be found roaming the cattle-lands of Texas, exploring the art of the con-man, or investigating the tensions of class and wealth in turn-of-the-century New York. O. Henry had an inimitable hand for isolating some element of society and describing it with an incredible economy and grace of language.
«In Seville, in the very portico of Santa Inés, and while, on Christmas Eve, I was waiting for the Midnight Mass to begin, I heard this tradition from a lay-sister of the convent.
As was natural, after hearing it, I waited impatiently for the ceremony to commence, eager to be present at a miracle...» The Legends are a variety of romantic tales. As the name implies, most have a legendary tone. Some depict supernatural and semi-religious (Christian) events, like The mount of the souls, The green eyes, The rose of the Passion (a blood libel) with references to the Holy Child of La Guardia and The miserere (a religious song). Others cover more or less normal events from a romantic view, like The moonlight ray and Three dates.
Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, (1836-1870) was a Spanish post-romanticist poet and writer (mostly short stories), also a playwright, literary columnist, and talented in drawing. Today he is considered one of the most important figures in Spanish literature.
«There was not an inch of room for Lottie and Kezia in the buggy. When Pat swung them on top of the luggage they wobbled; the grandmother's lap was full and Linda Burnell could not possibly have held a lump of a child on hers for any distance...» Bliss is a modernist short story by Katherine Mansfield first published in 1918. It was published in the English Review in August 1918 and later reprinted in Bliss and Other Stories.
The story follows a dinner party given by Bertha Young and her husband, Harry. The writing shows Bertha depicted as a happy soul, though quite naive about the world she lives in and those closest to her. The story opened up a lot of questions, about deceit, about knowing oneself and also about the possibility of homosexuality at the start of the 20th century. The story gives us a bird's eye view of the dinner party, which is attended by a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Knight, who are close friends to Bertha and Harry. Guest, Eddie Warren, is an effeminate character, who adds an interesting mix to the party.
«Connla of the Fiery Hair was son of Conn of the Hundred Fights. One day as he stood by the side of his father on the height of Usna, he saw a maiden clad in strange attire coming towards him...» Joseph Jacobs (1854-1916) was an Australian folklorist, literary critic, historian and writer of English literature who became a notable collector and publisher of English Folklore.
From 1899-1900 he edited the journal Folklore, and from 1890 to 1916 he edited multiple collections of fairy tales: English Fairy Tales (1890), Celtic Fairy Tales (1892 anthology), More Celtic Fairy Tales (1894), More English Fairy Tales (1894). He was inspired in this by the Brothers Grimm and the romantic nationalism common in folklorists of his age.
It includes the famous stories Conal Hammerclaw, The Story of Deirdre, Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree, The Wooing of Olwen, Jack and His Comrades, The Sea Maiden, Fairm Brown and Trembling, The Battle of the Birds, Brewery of Eggshells and many others.
«Once upon a time there were three Bears, who lived together in a house of their own, in a wood. One of them was a Little Wee Bear, and one was a Middle-sized Bear, and the other was a Great Big Bear...» Flora Annie Steel was interested in relating to all classes of Indian society. The birth of her daughter gave her a chance to interact with local women and learn their language. She encouraged the production of local handicrafts and collected folk-tales, a collection of which she published in 1894.
Her interest in schools and the education of women gave her a special insight into native life and character. A year before leaving India, she coauthored and published The Complete Indian Housekeeper, giving detailed directions to European women on all aspects of household management in India.
This book contains over fourty of the best-loved fairy stories, retold by Flora Annie Steel.