The telling of the tale. With this preparation, directions seem futile. The tale should tell itself naturally. You must begin at the beginning, as your tale will if you have selected a good one. You must tell it simply, as your tale will have simplicity if it is a good one, and your telling must be in harmony with the tale you tell. You will tell it with joy; of course, if there is joy in it, or beauty, which is a "joy forever," or if you are giving joy to your listeners. Tell it, if possible, with a sense of bestowing a blessing, and a delicate perception of the reception it meets in the group before you, and the pleasure and interest it arouses in them, so that in the telling there is that human setting which is a quickening of the spirit and a union of ideas, which is something quite new and different from the story, yet born of the story.
The re-creative method of story-telling. This preparation for telling here described will result in a fundamental imitation of the author of the story. By participating in the life of the story; by realizing it as folklore; by realizing it as literature—its emotion, its imagination, its basis of truth, its message, its form; by paying conscious attention to the large units of the structure, the exact sequence of the plot, the characters, and the setting, the particular details of description, and the unique word—the story-teller reproduces the author's mode of thinking. She does with her mind what she wishes the child to do with his. With the very little child in the kindergarten and early first grade, who analyzes but slightly, this results consciously in a clear notion of the story, which shows itself in the child's free re-telling of the story as a whole. He may want to tell the story or he may not. Usually he enjoys re-telling it after some lapse of time; perhaps he tells it to himself, meanwhile. With the older child, who analyzes more definitely, this results in a retelling which actually reproduces the teller's mode of thinking. If persisted in, it gives to one's mode of thinking, the story-mode, just as nature study gives to life the nature point of view. This mode of thinking is the mode of re-creation, of realization. It re-experiences the life, it reaches the processes of the mind, and develops free mind movement. It is a habit of thinking, and is at the basis of reading, which is thinking through symbols; at the basis of the memorization of poetry, which must first see the pictures the poet has portrayed; it is the best help toward the adult study of literature, and the narration of history and geography. It is the power to conceive a situation, which is most useful in science, mathematics, and the reasoning of logic. "For," says Professor John Dewey, "the mind which can make independent judgments, look at facts with fresh vision, and reach conclusions with simplicity, is the perennial power in the world."
This re-creative method of fundamental imitation was illustrated in the telling of Andersen's Princess and the Pea, in a student-teacher's class:
The story was told by the Professor. After the telling of the story it was decided to have the story told again, but this time in parts and by those who had listened, in such a way that it would seem as if one person were telling the whole story.
The Professor named the first part of the story. A student was asked to tell the story from the beginning to the end of the Prince's coming home again, sad at heart. Another student told the second part, beginning with the storm and ending with what the old Queen thought. A third student told the third part, beginning with the next morning and ending with the close of the story, Now this is a true story.
The Professor next asked students to think over the entire story, to see if each student could find any weak places in the remembering of the story. Several students reported difficulty—one failed to remember the exact description of the storm. A number of details were thus filled in, in the exact words of the author. After this intimate handling of the separate parts of the story, a final re-telling by one student—omitted in this case because of lack of time—would bring together what had been contributed by individual students, and would represent the final re-creation of the entire story.
The simplicity of this selection, the simplicity of the plot, the few characters, the literary art of the story, the skillful use of the unique word, the art of presenting distinct pictures by means of vivid words, through suggestion rather than through illustration, together with the delicate humor that hovered about the tale, and the art of the Professor's telling—all combined in the final effect. The re-telling of the story in parts accomplished the analysis of the story into three big heads:
(1) From The Prince who wanted a real Princess ... to his return home.
(2) From The storm, one dark evening ... to what the old Queen thought.
(3) From What the Queen did next morning ... to the end of the story.
In the analysis of the story into parts, telling exactly what happened gave the framework of the story, gave its basis of meaning. Telling it in three steps gave a strong sense of sequence and a vivid conception of climax.—If the division into parts for re-telling corresponds with the natural divisions of the plot into its main episodes, this telling in steps impresses the structure of the tale and is in harmony with the real literary mastery of the story.—The re-telling of each part drew attention to the visualization of that part. Each hesitation on behalf of a student telling a part, led the class to fill in the details for themselves, and impressed the remembrance of the exact words of the author. This resulted in the mastery of each part through a visualization of it. Hand in hand with the visualization came the feeling aroused by the realization. This was more easily mastered because changes of feeling were noticeable in passing from one part of the story to another.
After a mastery of the structure of the story through analysis, after a mastery of the thought, imagination, and feeling of the story, after a mastery of the form, and the exact words of the author in the description of details embodied in that form, the story is possessed as the teller's own, ready to be given, not only to bestow pleasure, as in this case, but often to transmit a message of worth and to preserve a classic form.
The Foolish Timid Rabbit, a Jataka tale, might be prepared for telling by this same re-creative method of story-telling. It must be remembered—and because of its importance it will bear repetition,—that the separation of the story-structure into parts for separate telling should always be in harmony with the divisions of the plot so that there may be no departure from the author's original mode of thinking, and no break in the natural movement of sequence. A separation of the tale into parts for re-telling would result in the following analysis:—
(1) Rabbit asleep under a palm tree ... to his meeting hundreds of Rabbits.
(2) Rabbits met a Deer ... to when the Elephant joined them.
(3) Lion saw the animals running ... to when he came to the Rabbit who first had said the earth was all breaking up.
(4) Lion asked the Foolish Rabbit, 'Is it true the earth is all breaking up,' ... to end of the story, 'And they all stopped running.'
After the re-telling of these parts, each part should be filled in with the exact details so that in the final re-telling practically the whole tale is reproduced. This is a very good tale to tell by this method because the theme is attractive, the plot is simple, the sequence a very evident movement, the characters distinctive, the setting pleasing and rather prominent, and the details sufficiently few and separate to be grasped completely. The final re-telling therefore may be accomplished readily as a perfected result of this method of telling a tale.
During the telling, the charm here is in preserving the typical bits of dialogue, giving to the Lion's words that force and strength and sagacity which rank him the King of the Beasts. One must feel clearly the message and make this message enter into every part of the telling: That the Lion showed his superior wisdom by making a stand and asking for facts, by accepting only what he tested; while the Rabbit showed his credulity by foolishly accepting what he heard without testing it.
Adaptation of the fairy tale. Sometimes, in telling a story one cannot tell it exactly as it is. This may be the case when the story is too long for a purpose, or if it contains matter which had better be omitted, or if it needs to be amplified. In any case one must follow these general rules:—
(1) Preserve the essential story from a single point of view.
(2) Preserve a clear sequence with a distinct climax.
(3) Preserve a simplicity of plot and simple language.
In shortening a long story one may:
(1) Eliminate secondary themes.
(2) Eliminate extra personages.
(3) Eliminate passages of description.
(4) Eliminate irrelevant events.
It has been the practice to adapt such stories as Andersen's Ugly Duckling and Ruskin's King of the Golden River. In the King of the Golden River the description of Treasure Valley could be condensed into a few sentences and the character of South West Wind omitted; and in The Ugly Duckling, passages of description and bits of philosophy might be left out. But there is no reason why literature in the elementary school should be treated with mutilation. These stories are not suited to the kindergarten or first grade and may be reserved for the third and fourth grades where they may be used and enjoyed by the children as they are. Andersen's Thumbelina might be adapted for kindergarten children because it is suitable for them yet it is very long. It could easily be analyzed into its leading episodes, each episode making a complete tale, and one or more episodes be told at one time. This would have the added attraction for the child of having one day's story follow naturally the preceding story. Adapted thus, the episodes would be:—
(1) Thumbelina in her Cradle.
(2) Thumbelina and the Toad.
(3) Thumbelina and the Fishes.
(4) Thumbelina and the Cockchafer in the tree.
(5) Thumbelina and the Field-Mouse.
(6) Thumbelina and the Mole.
(7) Thumbelina and the Swallow.
(8) Thumbelina as Queen of the Flowers.
Andersen's Snow Man as adapted for the kindergarten would require the episode of the lover omitted. It is irrelevant, not essential to the story, and is an illustration of the sentimental, which must be omitted when we use Andersen. To omit this episode one would cut out from "'That is wonderfully beautiful,' said a young girl," to the end of "'Why, they belong to the Master,' retorted the Yard Dog."
III. THE RETURN FROM THE CHILD
The telling of the fairy tale is one phase of the teacher's art. And it is maintained that fairy tales are one portion of subject-matter suited to accomplish the highest greatness of the teaching art. For teaching is an art, an art of giving suggestions, of bearing influences, of securing adjustments, an art of knowing the best and of making it known. The material the artist works upon is the living child. The medium the artist uses is subject-matter. In the process the artist must ask, "What new connections or associations am I establishing in the child?" "To what power of curiosity and of problem-solving do these connections and associations lead?" The ideal which guides the teacher is the child's best self as she can interpret him. This ideal will be higher and larger than the child himself can know. In the manipulation of subject-matter, through the practical application of principles, the artist aims to have the child awake, inquire, plan, and act, so that under her influences he grows by what he thinks, by what he feels, by what he chooses, and by what he achieves.
Teaching will be good art when the child's growth is a perfect fit to the uses of his life, when subject-matter brings to him influences he needs and can use. Teaching will be good art when it breaks up old habits, starts new ones, strengthens good traits, and weakens bad ones; when it gives a new attitude of cheerfulness in life or of thoughtfulness for others or of reason in all things. It will be good art when under it the child wants to do something and learns how to do it. Teaching will be great art when under it the child continually attains self-activity, self-development, and self-consciousness, when he continually grows so that he may finally contribute his utmost portion to the highest evolution of the race. Teaching will be great art when it touches the emotions of the child,—when history calls forth a warm indignation against wrong, when mathematics strengthens a noble love of truth or literature creates a strong satisfaction in justice. This is the poetry of teaching, because mere subject-matter becomes a criticism of life. Teaching will be great art when you, the teacher, through the humble means of your presentation of subject-matter, furnish the child at the same time with ideas, perceptions, and opinions which are your personal criticism of life. Teaching will be great art when you, the teacher, have worked up into your own character a portion of life which is of value, so that the child coming in touch with you knows an influence more powerful than anything you can do or say. Teaching will then awaken in the child a social relation of abiding confidence, of secure trust, of faith unshakable. And this relation will then create for the teacher the obligation to keep this trust inviolable, to practice daily, noblesse oblige. Teaching will be great art when with the subject-matter the artist gives love, a great universal kindness that thinks not of itself but, being no respecter of persons, looks upon each child in the light of that child's own best realization. This penetrating sympathy, this great understanding, will call forth from the child an answering love, which grows daily into a larger humanity of soul until the child, in time too, comes to have a universal sympathy. This is the true greatness of teaching. This it is which brings the child into harmony with the Divine love which speaks in all God's handiwork and brings him into that unity with God which is the mystery of Froebel's teaching.
During the story-telling one must ask, "In all this what is the part the child has to play?" In the telling the teacher has aimed to give what there is in the tale. The child's part is to receive what there is in the tale, the emotion, the imagination, the truth, and the form embodied in the tale. The content of feeling, of portrayal, of truth, and of language he receives, he will in some way transmit before the school day is ended, even if in forms obscure and hidden. Long years afterwards, he may exhibit this same emotion, imagination, truth and form, in deeds that proclaim loudly the return from his fairy tales. However, if the child is being surrounded by pragmatic influences through his teachers he will soon become aware that his feelings are useless unless he does something because of them; that what he sees is worthless unless he sees to some purpose; that it is somewhat fruitless to know the truth and not use it; and if words have in their form expressed the life of the tale, he is more dead than words not to express the life that teems within his own soul. The little child grows gradually into the responsibility for action, for expression, into a consciousness of purpose and a knowledge of his own problems. But each opportunity he is given to announce his own initiative breaks down the inhibition of inaction and aids him to become a free achieving spirit. As the child listens to the tale he is a thinking human creature; but in the return which he makes to his tale he becomes a quickened creator. The use which he makes of the ideas he has gained through his fairy tales, will be the work of his creative imagination.
Fairy tales, though perfectly ordinary subject-matter, may become the means of the greatest end in education, the development in the child of the power of consciousness. The special appeal to the various powers and capacities of the child mind, such as emotion, imagination, memory, and reason, here have been viewed separately. But in life action the mind is a unit. Thinking is therefore best developed through subject-matter which focuses the various powers of the child. The one element which makes the child manipulate his emotion, imagination, memory, and reason, is the presence of a problem. The problem is the best chance for the child to secure the adjustment of means to ends. This adjustment of means to ends in a problem situation, is real thinking and is the use of the highest power of which man is capable, that of functional consciousness. The real need of doing things is the best element essential to the problem. Through a problem which expresses such a genuine need, to learn to know himself, to realize his capacities and his limitations, and to secure for himself the evolution of his own character until it adapts, not itself to its environment, but its environment to its own uses and masters circumstances for its own purposes—this is the high hill to which education must look, "from which cometh its strength." The little child, in listening to a fairy tale, in seeing in it a problem of real need, and in working it out, may win some of this strength. We have previously seen that fairy tales, because of their universal elements, are subject-matter rich in possible problems.
During the story-telling what is the part the child has to play? The part of the child in all this may be to listen to the story because he has some problem of his own to work out through the literature, because he has some purpose of his own in listening, because he enjoys the story and wishes to find out what there is in it, or because he expects it to show him what he may afterwards wish to do with it. In any case the child's part is to see the characters and what they do, to follow the sequence of the tale, and to realize the life of the story through the telling. He may have something to say about the story at the close of the telling, he may wish to compare its motifs with similar motifs in other tales, or he may wish to talk about the life exhibited by the story. The various studies of the curriculum every day are following more closely the Greek ideal and giving the child daily exercise to keep the channels of expression free and open. And when the well-selected fairy tale which is art is told, through imitation and invention it awakens in the child the art-impulse and tends to carry him from appreciation to expression. If before the telling the story-teller has asked herself, "What variety of creative reaction will this tale arouse in the child?" and if she has told the story in the way to bring forward the best possibility for creative reaction the nature of the tale affords, she will help to make clear to the child what he himself will want to do with the story. She will help him to see a way to use the story to enter into his everyday life. The return of creative reaction possible to the child will be that in harmony with his natural instincts or large general interests. These instincts, as indicated by Professor John Dewey, in The School and Society, are:—
(1) the instinct of conversation or communication;
(2) the instinct of inquiry or finding out things;
(3) the instinct of construction or making things; and
(4) the instinct of artistic expression or [of imitating and combining things].
(1) The instinct of conversation. The little child likes to talk. If you have ever listened to a little girl of five artlessly proceeding to tell a story, such as Little Black Sambo, which she had gathered from looking at a neighbor's book, but which she had not yet mastered sufficiently to grasp its central theme, reiterating the particular incidents with the enthusiasm and joy and narrative tone of the story-teller, you realized how the child likes to talk. For there appeared the charm of the story-telling mode distinct from the story it told.
Because of this instinct of conversation one form of creative reaction may be language expression. The oral reproduction of the story re-experiences the story anew. The teacher may help here by creating a situation for the re-telling. A teacher might put a little foreign boy through rapid paces in learning English by selecting a story like The Sparrow and the Crow and by managing that in the re-telling the little foreigner would be the Crow who makes the repetitive speeches, who must go to the Pond and say:—
Your name, sir, is Pond And my name is Crow, Please give me some water, For if you do so I can wash and be neat, And the nice soup can eat, Though I really don't know What the sparrow can mean, I'm quite sure, as crows go, I'm remarkably clean.
As the Crow must go to the Deer, the Cow, the Grass, and the Blacksmith, and each time varies the beginning of his speech, four other children could represent the Crow successively, thus bringing in a social element which would relieve any one child's timidity. By that time any group of children would realize the fun they could get by playing out the simple tale; and there would be petitions to be the Deer, the Cow, etc. If the teacher sees that the characters place themselves as they should, carry out the parts naturally, and that the Crow begs with the correct rhyme, she is performing her legitimate task of suggestion and criticism that works toward developing from the first attempts of children, a good form in harmony with the story. Here, while there is free play, the emphasis is on the speeches of rhyme, so that the reaction is largely a language expression. The language expression is intimately related to all varieties of expression of which the child is capable, and may be made to dominate and use any of them, or be subordinated to them.
A most delightful form of creative reaction possible to the child in language expression, is the formation of original little stories similar to the "Toy Stories" written by Carolyn Bailey for the Kindergarten Review during 1915. A story similar to "The Little Woolly Dog" might be originated by the little child about any one of his toys. This would be related to his work with fairy tales because in such a story the child would be imitating his accumulative tales; and the adventures given the toy would be patterned after the familiar adventures of his tales.
A form of creative reaction, which will be a part of the language return given by the first-grade child from the telling of the tale, will be his reading of the tale. When the child re-experiences the life of the story as has been described, his mental realization of it will be re-creative, and his reading the tale aloud afterwards will be just as much a form of re-creative activity as his re-telling of the tale. The only difference is, that in one case the re-creative activity is exercised by thinking through symbols, while in the other case it is employed without the use of a book. This concentration on the reality brings about the proper relation of reading to literature. It frees literature from the slavery to reading which it has been made to serve, yet it makes literature contribute more effectively toward good reading than it has done in the past.
(2) The instinct of inquiry. No more predominating trait proclaims itself in the child than the instinct of inquiry. Every grown-up realizes his habit of asking questions, which trait Kipling has idealized delightfully in The Elephant's Child. We know also that the folk-tale in its earliest beginnings was the result of primitive man's curiosity toward the actual physical world about him, its sun and sky, its mountain and its sea. The folk-tale therefore is the living embodiment of the child's instinct of inquiry permanently recorded in the adventures and surprises of the folk-tale characters. And because the folk-tale is so pervaded with this quest of the ages in search of truth, and because the child by nature is so deeply imitative, the folk-tale inherently possesses an educational value to stir and feed original impulses of investigation and experiment. This is a value which is above and beyond its more apparent uses.
In the creative reaction to be expected from the child's use of fairy tales the expression of this instinct of investigation unites with the instinct of conversation, the instinct of construction, and the instinct of artistic expression. In fact, it is the essence of creative reaction in any form, whether in the domain of the Industrial Shop, the Domestic Science Kitchen, the Household Arts' Sewing-Room, or the Fine Arts' Studio. To do things and then see what happens, is both the expression of this instinct and the basis of any creative return the child makes through his handling of the fairy tale. In the formation of a little play such as is given on page 149, the instinct of conversation is expressed in the talk of the Trees to the little Bird. But this talk of the Trees also expresses doing things to see what happens; each happening to the Bird, each reply of a Tree to the Bird, influences each successive doing of the Bird. After the Story of Medio Pollito all the child's efforts of making Little Half-Chick into a weathervane and of fixing the directions to his upright shaft, will be expressions of the search for the unknown, of the instinct of experiment. After the story of The Little Elves, the dance of the Elves to the accompaniment of music will represent an expression of the artistic instinct; but it also represents expression of the instinct for the new and the untried. After the dance is finished the child has seen himself do something he had not done before. This union of the instinct of inquiry with that of artistic expression shows itself most completely in the entire dramatization of a fairy tale.
(3) The instinct of construction. In his industrial work the very youngest child is daily exercising his active tendency to make things. In the kindergarten he may make the toy with which he plays, the doll-house and its furnishings, small clay dishes, etc. In the first grade he may make small toy animals, baskets, paper hats, card-board doll-furniture, little houses, book-covers, toys, etc. Self-expression, self-activity, and constructive activity would all be utilized, and the work would have more meaning to the child, if it expressed some idea, if after the story of Three Bears the child would make the Bears' kitchen, the table of wood, and the three porridge bowls of clay, or the Bears' hall with the three chairs. In the Grimm tale, Sweet Rice Porridge, after the story has been told and before the re-telling, children would like to make a clay porridge-pot, which could be there before them in the re-telling. Perhaps they would make the rice porridge also, and put some in the pot, for little children are very fond of making things to eat, and domestic science has descended even into the kindergarten. After the story of Chanticleer and Partlet, children would enjoy making a little wagon and harnessing to it a Duck, and putting in it the Cock and the Hen, little animals they have made. In the first grade, after the story of Sleeping Beauty, children would naturally take great pleasure in making things needed to play the story: the paper silver and gold crowns of the maids and Princess and the Prince's sword. After the story of Medio Pollito, we have noted with what special interest children might make a weathervane, with Little Half-Chick upon it!
(4) The instinct of artistic expression. This is the instinct of drawing, painting, paper-cutting, and crayon-sketching, the instinct of song, rhythm, dance, and game, of free play and dramatization.
(a) One form of artistic creative reaction will be the cutting of free silhouette pictures. The child should attempt this with the simplest of the stories which are suited for drawing, painting, or crayon-sketching. He loves to represent the animals he sees every day; and the art work should direct this impulse and show him how to do it so that he may draw or cut out a dog, a cat, a sheep, or a goat; or simple objects, as a broom, a barrel, a box, a table, and a chair. The Bremen Town Musicians, while offering a fine opportunity for dramatization, also might stimulate the child to cut out the silhouettes of the Donkey, the Dog, the Cat, and the Cock, to draw the window of the cottage and to place the animals one on top of another, looking in the window. The beautiful picture-books illustrating his fairy tales, which the child may see, will give him many ideas of drawing and sketching, and help him to arrange his silhouettes. A recent primer, The Pantomime Primer, will give the child new ideas in silhouettes. Recent articles in the Kindergarten Review will give the teacher many helpful suggestions along the line of expression. In the May number, 1915, in Illustrated Stories, the story of "Ludwig and Marleen," by Jane Hoxie, is shown as a child might illustrate it with paper-cutting.—A class of children were seen very pleasantly intent on cutting out of paper a basket filled with lovely tinted flowers. But how attractive that same work would have become if the basket had been Red Riding Hood's basket and they were being helped by an art-teacher to show peeping out of her basket the cake and pot of butter, with the nosegay tucked in one end. A very practical problem in paper-cutting would arise in any room when children desire to make a frieze to decorate the front wall. The Old Woman and her Pig, The Country Mouse and the City Mouse, The Little Red Hen, The Story of Three Pigs, The Story of Three Bears, and Little Top-Knot, would be admirably adapted for simple work.
(b) The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean is most likely to stir the child's impulse to draw. Leslie Brooke's illustration in The House in the Wood might aid a child who wanted to put some fun into his representation. Birdie and Lena or Fundevogel, is a story that naturally would seek illustration. Three crayon-sketches, one of a rosebush and a rose, a second of a church and a steeple, and a third of a pond and a duck, would be enough to suggest the tale.
(c) The Story of The Wolf and Seven Kids, if told with the proper emphasis on the climax of triumph and conclusion of joy, would lead the child to react with a water-color sketch of the dance of the Goat and her Kids about the well. For here you have all the elements needed for a simple picture—the sky, the full moon, the hill-top, the well, and the animals dancing in a ring. After finishing their sketches the children would enjoy comparing them with the illustration of Der Wolf und die Sieben Geislein in Das Deutsche Bilderbuech, and perhaps they might try making a second sketch. This same tale would afford the children a chance to compose a simple tune and a simple song, such as the well-taught kindergarten child to-day knows. Such are songs which express a single theme and a single mood; as, The Muffin Man and To the Great Brown House; or There was a Small Boy with a Toot and Dapple Gray in St. Nicholas Songs. In this tale of The Wolf and Seven Kids, the conclusion impresses a single mood of joy and the single theme of freedom because the Wolf is dead. The child could produce a very simple song of perhaps two lines, such as,—
Let's sing and dance! Hurrah, hurrah! The Wolf is dead! Hurrah!
(d) It is a little difficult to get down to the simplicity of the little girl who will play her own tune upon the piano and sing to it just the number of the house in which she lives, repeating it again and again. But the child can compose little songs that will please him, and he can use, too, in connection with the tales, some of the songs that he knows. The first-grade child could work into Snow White and Rose Red, "Good morrow, little rosebush," and into Little Two-Eyes a lullaby such as "Sleep, baby, sleep." Later in Hansel and Grethel he may learn some of the simple songs that have been written for Hansel and Grethel to sing to the birds when they spend the night in the wood. In Snow White he may learn some of the songs written for the children's play, Snow White. In connection with music, the kindergarten child learns to imitate the sounds of animals, the sound of bells, whistles, the wind, etc. All this will cause him to react, so that when these occur in his stories he will want to make them.
(e) One of the forms of creative reaction possible to the child as a variety of expression, which has received attention most recently, has been handled by Miss Caroline Crawford in Rhythm Plays of Childhood; and by Miss Carol Oppenheimer in "Suggestions Concerning Rhythm Plays," in the Kindergarten Review, April and May, 1915. Here again the fairy tales cannot be excelled in abundant situations for rhythm plays. The sea, the wind, the clouds, the sun, the moon, the stars—all nature is rich in suggestion of rhythms. The social situations furnish the rhythm of simple housekeeping tasks. In Snow White and Rose Red there are the rhythms of fishing and of chasing animals. In The Elves we have the rhythm of shoe-making and in The Straw Ox, the rhythm of spinning. The story of Thumbelina, after its eight episodes have been re-told by the children, might very attractively be re-told in eight rhythms, each rhythm expressing a single episode. And for the oldest children, a union of the oral re-telling by individual children with the retelling in rhythms by all the children, would give much pleasure and social exhilaration. Thumbelina in her Cradle, Thumbelina and the Toad, Thumbelina and the Swallow and Thumbelina as Queen of the Flowers—these at once suggest a cradle rhythm, a toad rhythm, the flight of birds, and a butterfly dance. Because the rhythm is a lyric form it must be remembered that the part of a story suited to a rhythm play is always a part characterized by a distinct emotional element. In the performance of rhythm plays the point is to secure the adjustment of music, motion, and idea.
(f) Many of the fairy tales might arouse in the child a desire to originate a game, especially if he were accustomed to originate games in the regular game work. A modification of the game of tag might grow from Red Riding Hood and a pleasant ring game easily might develop from Sleeping Beauty. In fact there is a traditional English game called "Sleeping Beauty." An informal ring game which would be somewhat of a joke, and would have the virtue of developing attention, might grow from The Tin Soldier. The Tin Soldier stands in the center while the circle is formed of Jack-in-the-boxes, with lids closed. The Tin Soldier turns round and round slowly, and when he stops looks steadily at a certain Jack-in-the-box, whereupon the Jack must bob up and retort, "Keep your eyes to yourself, Tin Soldier!" The Jack and Soldier then change places. Any Jack failing to open when looked at forfeits his place in the ring. Some games derived from folk-tales were given in the Delineator, November, 1914. These could not be used by the youngest without adaptation; they suggest a form of fun that so far as I know has been undeveloped.
(g) The artistic creative return of the child may sometimes take the form of objectification or representation. The Steadfast Tin Soldier is a model of the literary fairy tale which gives a stimulus to the child to represent his fairy tale objectively. As straightforward narrative it ranks high. Its very first clause is the child's point of view: "There were five and twenty tin soldiers"; for the child counts his soldiers. Certainly the theme is unique and the images clear-cut.
It makes one total impression and it has one emotional tone to which everything is made to contribute. Its message of courage and its philosophy of life, which have been mentioned previously, are not so insignificant even if the story does savor of the sentimental. Its structure is one single line of sequence, from the time this marvelous soldier was stood up on the table, until he, like many another toy, was thrown into the fire. The vivid language used gives vitality to the story, the words suit the ideas, and often the words recall a picture or suggestion; as, "The Soldier fell headlong," "trod," "came down in torrents," "boat bobbed," "spun round," "clasped his gun," "boat shot along," "blinked his eyes," etc. The method of suggestion by which an object is described through its effect on some one else, produces a very pleasing result here. You see the steadfast look of the Tin Soldier's eyes when the Jack-in-the-box says, "Keep your eyes to yourself, Tin Soldier!" The position of the Soldier in the street is given through the exclamation of the little boys who see him—"Look! there lies a Tin Soldier, let us give him a sail in the gutter!"
The setting in this story is a table in a sitting-room and the playthings on the table. The characters are two playthings. After the first telling of this story the child naturally would like to represent it. The story has made his playthings come alive and so he would like to make them appear also. This is a tale in which representation, after the first telling, will give to the child much pleasure and will give him a chance to do something with it cooperatively. He can reproduce the setting of this tale upon a table in a schoolroom. Each child could decide what is needed to represent the story and offer what he can. One child could make the yard outside the castle of green blotting-paper. Another child could furnish a mirror for the lake, another two toy green trees, one two wax swans, one a box of tin soldiers, another a jack-in-the-box, while the girls might dress a paper doll for a tinsel maid. The teacher, instructed by the class, might make a castle of heavy gray cardboard, fastening it together with heavy brass paper-fasteners and cutting out the door, windows, and tower. It is natural for children to handle playthings; and when a story like this is furnished the teacher should not be too work-a-day to enter into its play-spirit. After the representation objectively, the re-telling of the tale might be enjoyed. The child who likes to draw might tell this story also in a number of little sketches: The Jack-in-the-box, The Window, The Boat, The Rat, The Fish, and The Fire. Or a very simple little dramatic dance and song might be invented, characterized by a single mood and a single form of motion, something like this, sung to the tune of "Here we go round the mulberry bush, etc":—
Here we come marching, soldiers tin, soldiers tin, soldiers tin, Here we come marching, soldiers tin, On one leg steady we stand. (Circle march on one leg).
This could easily be concluded with a game if the child who first was compelled to march on two legs had to pay some penalty, stand in the center of the ring, or march at the end of the line.
(h) Creative reaction as a result of listening to the telling of fairy tales, appears in its most varied form of artistic expression in free play and dramatization. It is here that the child finds a need for the expression of all his skill in song and dance, construction, language, and art, for here he finds a use for these things.
In free play the child represents the characters and acts out the story. His desire to play will lead to a keenness of attention to the story-telling, which is the best aid to re-experiencing, and the play will react upon his mind and give greater power to visualize. Nothing is better for the child than the freedom and initiative used in dramatization, and nothing gives more self-reliance and poise than to act, to do something.—We must remember that in the history of the child's literature it was education that freed his spirit from the deadening weight of didacticism in the days of the New England Primer. And we must now have a care that education never may become guilty of crushing the spirit of his freedom, spontaneity, and imagination, by a dead formalism in its teaching method.—The play develops the voice, and it gives freedom and grace to bodily movements. It fixes in the child mind the details of the story and impresses effectively many a good piece of literature; it combines intellectual, emotional, artistic, and physical action. The simplest kindergarten plays, such as The Farmer, The Blacksmith, and Little Travelers, naturally lead into playing a story such as The Sheep and the Pig or The Gingerbread Man. The Mouse that Lost Her Tail and The Old Woman and Her Pig are delightful simple plays given in Chain Stories and Playlets by Mara Chadwick and E. Gray Freeman, suited to the kindergarten to play or the first grade to read and play. Working out a complete dramatization of a folk-tale such as Sleeping Beauty, in the first grade, and having the children come into the kindergarten and there play it for them, will be a great incentive toward catching the spirit of imaginatively entering into a situation which you are not. This is the essential for dramatization. Johnny Cake is a good tale to be played in the kindergarten because it uses a great number of children. As the kindergarten room generally is large, it enables the children who represent the man, the woman, the little boy, etc., to station themselves at some distance.
There are some dangers in dramatization which are to be avoided:—
(1) Dramatization often is in very poor form. The result is not the important thing, but the process. And sometimes teachers have understood this to mean, "Hands off!" and left the children to their crude impulses, unaided and unimproved. When the child shows what he is trying to do the teacher may show him how he can do what he wants to do. By suggestion and criticism she may get him to improve his first effort, provided she permits him to be absolutely free when he acts.—The place of this absolute freedom in the child's growth has been emblazoned to the kindergarten by the Montessori System.—Also by participating in the play as one of the characters, the teacher may help to a better form. Literature will be less distorted by dramatization when teachers are better trained to see the possibilities of the material, when through training they appreciate the tale as one of the higher forms of literature, and respect it accordingly. Also it will be less distorted by dramatization when the tales selected for use are those containing the little child's interests, when he will have something to express which he really knows about. Moreover, as children gain greater skill in expression in construction, in the game, in song, in dance, and in speech, the parts these contribute to the play will show a more perfected form. Each expression by the child grows new impressions, gives him new sensory experiences. Perhaps if the high school would realize the possibilities in a fairy tale such as Beauty and the Beast, work it up into really good artistic form, and play it for the little children, much would be gained not only towards good form in dramatics, in both the elementary school and the high school, but towards unifying the entire course of literature from the kindergarten to the university. Using Crane's picture-book as a help, they might bring into the play the beauty of costume and scenery, the court-jester, and Beauty's pages. Into the Rose-Garden they might bring a dance of Moon Fairies, Dawn Fairies, Noon, and Night who, in their symbolic gauzy attire, dance to persuade Beauty to remain in the Beast's castle. There might be singing fairies who decorate the bushes with fairy roses, and others who set the table with fairy dishes, singing as they work:—
See the trees with roses gay. Fairy roses, fairy roses, etc.
Elves and Goblins might surround the Beast when dying. The change of scene from the simple home of Beauty to the rich castle of the Beast, and the change of costume, would furnish ample opportunity for original artistic work from older students. For the little child it is good to see the familiar dignified with art and beauty; and for the older student the imagination works more freely when dealing with rather simple and familiar elements such as the folk-tale offers. Cinderella, like Beauty and the Beast, offers abundant opportunity to the high school student for a play or pantomime which it would be good for the little people to see. The stately minuet and folk-dances of different peoples may be worked into the ball-scene. And here, too, the beautiful picture-books will suggest features of costume and scenery.
(2) Dramatization may develop boldness in a child. The tendency is to use children with good dramatic ability continually for leading parts, even when the children choose the parts. This fault may be counteracted by distinguishing between work for growth and one or two rather carefully prepared plays to be given on special occasions. It is also counteracted by looking well to the social aspect of the play, by introducing features such as the song, dance, or game, where all have a part, or by adding attractive touches to less important parts, so that while a character may still be leading it will have no reason to feel over-important. This danger is not prominent until after the first grade.
(3) Dramatization may spoil some selections. Beautiful descriptions which make a tale poetic are not to be represented, and without them a tale is cheapened. Such is the case with The King of the Golden River and The Ugly Duckling. Care should be exercised to choose for dramatization only what is essentially dramatic and what is of a grade suited to the child. Tales suited to the little child are largely suited for dramatization.
(4) Dramatization has omitted to preserve a sequence in the selections used from year to year. A sequence in dramatization will follow naturally as the tales offered from year to year show a sequence in the variety of interests they present and the opportunities for growth and activity they offer. Plays most suited to the kindergarten are those which do not require a complete re-telling of the story in the acting, so that the child need not say so much. Such are stories like The Old Woman and Her Pig, Henny Penny, The Foolish Timid Rabbit, Little Tuppen, Three Billy-Goats, Johnny Cake, and Billy Bobtail. When the course of literature in the elementary school gets its content organized, the sequence of dramatization will take care of itself.
Dramatization has one rather unusual virtue:—
(1) Dramatization may be used to establish a good habit. An indolent child may be given the part of the industrious child in the play. At first the incongruity will amuse him, then it will support his self-respect or please his vanity, then it will prove to him the pleasure of being industrious, and finally stimulate the desire to be that which before he was not. It may build a habit and, if repeated, fortify one. This is the true "Direct Moral Method." The so-called "Direct Moral Method," advocated by Dr. Gould, an English educator, which in telling a story separates the moral from the tale to emphasize it and talk about it, leaves the child a passive listener with only a chance to say "Yes" or "No" or a single word in answer to the moral questions. It is unnatural because it directs the child's attention away from the situation, action, and people which interest him. It does not parallel life in which morals are tied up with conduct. One must ask, "According to this method what will the child recall if his mind reverts to the story—courage, or the variety of images from the number of short-stories told to impress the abstract moral idea of courage?" Dramatization like life represents character in the making and therefore helps to make character.
Illustrations of creative return. Let us look now at a few tales illustrating the creative return possible to the child. The Country Mouse and the City Mouse is an animal tale that offers to the kindergarten child a chance to prove how intensely he enters into the situation by the number of details he will improvise and put into his dramatization in representing life in the country and life in the city. The good feast atmosphere in this tale pleases little children and suits it to their powers. It is a fine tale to unite the language expression and dramatization. It is especially suited to call forth reaction from the child also in the form of drawing or crayon sketching. Here it is best for the child to attempt typical bits. Complete representation tires him and it is not the method of art, which is selective. The field of corn and two mice may be shown in the country scene; and a table with cheese, some plates filled with dainties, and two mice in the city scene. Here again this return relates itself to the presentation of the tale as literature. For if the story has been presented so as to make the characters, the plot, and the setting stand out, the child naturally will select these to portray in a sketch. In his expression the child will represent what he chooses, but the teacher by selecting from among the results the one which is of most value, leads him to a better result in a following attempt. It is the teacher's selection among the results of activity that brings about development. Freedom with guidance is no less free, but it is freedom under that stimulation which helps the child to make more of himself than he knew was possible.—The kindergarten would proclaim to the Montessori System the place of guidance of freedom in the child's growth.
The Elves and the Shoemaker offers to a first grade a pleasing opportunity for the fairy tale to unite with the dramatic game. One child may act as narrator, standing to tell the story from the beginning to the end of the evening's conversation, "I should like to sit up tonight and see who it is that makes the shoes." At this point, noiselessly a dozen or more Elves may troop in, and seating themselves sing and act the first part of the Dramatic Game of Little Elves, one form of which is given by Miss Crawford. After they have stitched, rapped, and tapped quickly, and the shoes are made, they depart hurriedly. The narrator now continues the story, telling how the Shoemaker and his wife made little clothes for the Elves, ending with what happened on Christmas Eve, when they put the gay jackets and caps on the table and hid in the corner to watch. At this point the Elves come in a second time, donning their new clothes; and sing and dance the second part of the dramatic game. As they dance out of sight the narrator concludes the story. If the primary children made these clothes or if the kindergarten children bought them at Christmas time to give to the poor, the play would take on a real human value.
Sleeping Beauty, another tale suited to the first grade, is admirably adapted for dramatization.—In all this work the children do the planning but the teacher directs their impulses, criticizes their plans, and shows them what they have done. She leads them to see the tale in the correct acts and scenes, to put together what belongs together. Sleeping Beauty naturally outlines itself into the ten main incidents we have noted before. If the story has been presented according to the standards given here, the children will see the story in those main incidents. In the dramatization they might work together narration of the story and the dramatic game, Dornroeschen. A wide circle of children might be the chorus while the players take their places in the center of the circle. The narrator, one of the circle, stands apart from it as he narrates. The version here used is the McLoughlin one, illustrated by Johann and Leinweber.
Place: Castle. King, Queen, and courtiers take their places within the circle. The circle moves to waltz step, singing stanza I, of the dramatic game:—
The Princess was so beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, etc.
At the conclusion of stanza I, the circle stops, the narrator steps forth and tells the story to the end of the words, "one had to stay at home."
Scene i. The Feast. Twelve fairies enter, each presenting her gift and making a speech. The wicked thirteenth comes in and pronounces her curse, and the twelfth fairy softens it to sleep. The King proclaims his decree, that all spindles in the land be destroyed.
Scene ii. The Attic. Princess goes to the attic. Old lady sits spinning. Princess pricks herself and falls asleep. Narration begins with "The King and Queen who had just come in fell asleep," and ends with "not a leaf rustled on the trees around the castle." At the close of the narration, the circle moves, singing stanza 5 of the dramatic game:—
A great hedge grew up giant high, giant high, giant high, etc.
Scene ii. The Castle Grounds. The Prince talks to an old Man outside the castle. The Prince comes to the hedge, which parts, and he enters. The Prince wakens the Princess and the rest of the castle. The narrator then closes with "By and by the wedding of the Prince ... to the end of their lives they lived happy and contented." The courtiers then form into couples, and the circle, in couples, follow the courtiers. The Prince and Princess lead in a slow waltz while all sing stanza 10 of the dramatic game:
And all the people made merry then, merry then, merry then, etc.
Here we do not have complete dramatization, narration, or dramatic game. Only three short parts are narrated, only three leading scenes are represented, and only three high points of narrative are depicted in the dramatic game. The music, which the specialist in physical education can furnish, might be:—
Galloping...................... Wild Horseman. Fairy Run...................... Chalef Book, p. 18. Climbing to Tower.............. Chaly, p. 10. Guy Walk Music. Phyllis........................ Seymour Smith. Bleking........................ Folk-Dance Book.
In connection with the dramatic game, there is only one tale in Grimm which contains a folk-game. This tale is somewhat incomplete as it stands in Grimm. It could become a tale suited for dramatization in the first grade, beginning the play with the folk-game. An original, amplified version of this tale, The Little Lamb and the Little Fish is given in the Appendix.
An original little play similar to one which the kindergarten children could work out is given below. This play is based on the pourquois tale, Why the Evergreen Trees Never Lose Their Leaves. It affords much play of originality because familiar trees may be used; and the talk of the Trees to the Bird may have some relation to the characteristics of the Trees. It could be used by children of six, seven, or eight years of age. It could serve as a Christmas play because of its spirit of kindness. North Wind might wear a wig and the Frost King wear a crown and carry a wand. Little Bird could have wings, one of which is broken, or simply carry one arm sleeveless.
The play might open with a rhythmic flight of the birds to the music of "The Swallow's Plight," in Kindergarten Review, May, 1915. The rhythm play of the birds would be especially pleasing because different birds would be represented by different children. The play would furnish a fine opportunity also for a rhythmic dance of the wind, which could form a distinct interlude later on in the play. In connection with the wind the beautiful picture-book, Windschen, by Elsa Beskow, might be referred to. Here the wind is personified as the playmate of Hans Georg. Its refined art, lovely color, and imaginative illustration, would stimulate the child's artistic representation of the wind.
The Bird and the Trees: A Play
Time . . . . Daytime, in late autumn. Place . . . The Forest. Characters: Poplar, Oak, Maple, Willow, Spruce, Pine, Juniper, the Bird, North Wind, and the Frost King.
Trees of the forest. "See that great crowd of birds flying away! They must be going South where the air is warm, and where they can find berries to eat. There is one left behind. Why, he is coming this way. What can he want?"
The Bird. "Oh, I can fly no farther! My wing hurts and I cannot hold it up. I am tired and cold and hungry. I must rest in this forest. Maybe some good kind tree will help me. Dear friend Poplar, my wing is broken and my friends have all gone South. Will you let me live in your branches until they come back again?"
Poplar. "I am sorry but do you not see how my leaves are all a-tremble at the thought of taking in a strange bird? Ask some other tree!"
The Bird. "It might not be very warm there at any rate. And the wind might blow me off the branches. I will try the Oak, he is so big and mighty. Dear old Oak-tree, you are so big and strong, will you let me rest in your branches to-night among your thick warm leaves? I am a poor little Bird with a broken wing and I cannot fly!"
Oak. "Oh, you must not ask me, little Bird, for all day long my little friends, the squirrels, have been jumping across my branches, gathering nuts and seeking holes to store their acorns in. I have no room for a stranger."
The Bird. "Ah! I did not think the Oak could be so cruel. Perhaps Maple will help me, she always seemed kind like a Mother. Dear, beautiful Maple, I am tired. May I rest among your lovely red leaves until my broken wing is mended and my friends come back to me?"
Maple. "Oh, no, I could not think of it! I have just dressed my leaves all in red and you might spoil their lovely clothes. Do go away. There are other trees in the forest not so gay as I."
The Bird. "What should I do? No one wants to help me. Can I not find one kind tree? Dear kind Willow, your branches bend almost to the ground. Could I live in them until the spring-time?"
Willow. "Really, little Bird with the broken wing, you are a stranger. You should have gone with the other birds. Maybe some other tree can help you but we willows are particular."
The Bird. "I do not know where to go and I'm so cold! I wonder if the other birds have reached the beautiful warm South."
Spruce. "Little Bird, little Bird, where are you going?"
The Bird. "I do not know. I am very cold."
Spruce. "Come, make a big hop and rest in this snug corner of my branches. You can stay with me all winter if you like."
The Bird. "You are so good, dear Spruce-tree. Will you really let me?"
Spruce. "If your friends the birds have left you, your other friends, the trees, will surely help you. Ho, Pine-tree, you would help a little Bird with a broken wing, wouldn't you?"
Pine. "Oh, yes, dear Bird! My branches are not wide but I am tall and thick, and I will keep the cold North Wind from you."
Juniper. "And maybe I can help. Are you hungry, little Bird? You can eat my nice little berries whenever you like."
The Bird. "Thank you, kind friends! I will go to sleep now on this nice branch of the Spruce-tree, Good-night, dear Trees."
Spruce, Pine, and Juniper. "Good-night, little Bird."
North Wind. "Oo,—Oo!—Now I must run in and out among all the trees of the forest.—But who comes here?"
Frost King. "Stop, North Wind! I have just gone before you, as King Winter said, and touched the trees of the forest. But the trees that have been kind to the Bird with the broken wing, those I did not touch. They shall keep their leaves. Do not you harm them!"
North Wind. "Very well, King Frost. Good-bye! Oo!—Oo!—" (The Wind frolics among the Trees, bending branches, careering wildly, shaking leaves.) "Little Spruce-tree, you have been kind to the Bird, I will not blow on you! Dear Pine-tree, you are tall and keep the Bird warm, I will not blow on you! Little Juniper, you gave the Bird your berries, I will not blow on you!"
(The following morning.)
The Bird. "Good-morning, dear Spruce-tree, your branch was warm and safe.—Why, what has happened to the other Trees? Look at the big Oak and the lovely Maple and all the rest! See how bare their branches are; and on the ground their shining leaves lie in red and yellow and brown heaps! O, how glad I am that your leaves have not fallen; they are bright and green! And so are Pine-tree's and Juniper's. I will call you my Evergreen Trees, and I will stay with you until the Spring!"
The English fairy tale, The Magpie's Nest, told by Joseph Jacobs, might be dramatized by first-grade children. This tale might offer the problem of observing how different birds make their nests and how they vary their calls. It also might offer the language problem of making suitable rhymes. An original dramatization of the pourquois tale is given in the Appendix.
Andersen's Fir Tree would offer a fine opportunity for a first grade at Christmas time. The fir tree has become vitally interesting through nature study at this time of the year. The children love to make things to decorate a tree. They have a short list of stories they can tell by this time. All this can be utilized in a Christmas tree play.—For the play use the original story, not a weakened version.—A pleasant Christmas play could end most happily with the story-telling under the tree. For the play an actual small fir tree may be in the room placed so that it may be moved easily. A child standing closely behind it may represent it and speak for it through its branches. The air and the sun, ordinarily not to be represented, in this case may be, as they come up to the Tree and talk to it. Much freedom of originality may be displayed through the children's entering into the character of the Fir Tree and improvising speeches.
The Fir Tree
Time.......Spring. Place.......Forest. Characters: Sun, Air, Hare, Woodmen, Swallow, Stork, Sparrows, Children, Servants, and Fir Tree.
Act I, Scene i. A Fir Tree in the forest. Sun and Air talk to it. Children sit under its branches. A Hare comes and jumps over it. Woodcutters come. A Swallow comes and talks to it. A Stork comes and talks to it. Sparrows talk to it.
(Have the Tree removed. Apparently from a cart outside the door, a larger Christmas Tree may be brought in and planted in a sand-box by two servants, students from grammar grades. The same child now grown older, represents the Tree.)
Act II, Scene i. The Fir Tree brought into the room. The decorating of the Tree by the Children and Teacher. Talk of the Children about the Tree when decorating it. Singing of Christmas carols; dancing of folk-dances; or recitation of Christmas poems, after the decoration of the Tree.
The distribution of gifts by the Children. An audience to whom the Children wanted to give presents, could be invited.
The Story-telling under the Tree.
The presence of visiting children would create an audience for the story-telling. The selection of the story-teller and the story or stories might be the result of a previous story contest. The contest and the story-telling under the Tree would be ideal drill situations. The entire play would serve as a fine unification of the child's work in nature, in construction, in physical education, in music, in composition, and in literature. Everything he does in the play will be full of vital interest to him; and his daily tasks will seem of more worth to him when he sees how he can use them with so much pleasure to himself and to others. This play is an example of the organizing of ideas which a good tale may exercise in the mind of the child and the part the tale as an organized experience may play in his development.
The creative return desired by the teacher, as well as the choice of tales for particular purposes, will depend largely on the controlling ideas in the program. It must be remembered that the child of to-day is not bookish nor especially literary; and he has increasing life interests. In the ordinary school year, work naturally divides itself into the main season festivals. While story work is here presented in its separate elements, any teacher realizes the possibility of making the story work lead up to and culminate in the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or May Festival. Because the good story bears a close relation to nature and to human life, any good course of stories will offer to the teacher ample freedom of choice for any natural school purpose. The good tale always gains by being placed in a situation where it assists in carrying out a larger idea. When the tale is one unit of a festival program it appeals to the child as a unit in his everyday life, it becomes socially organized for him.
Baker, F.T.; Carpenter, G.; and Scott, F.N.: The Teaching of English. Longmans.
Chubb, Percival: The Teaching of English. Macmillan.
Bailey, Carolyn: For the Story Teller. Bradley.
Bryant, Sara C.: How to Tell Stories to Children. Houghton.
Ibid.: Stories to Tell. Houghton.
Buckland, Anna: Use of Stories in the Kindergarten. Steiger.
Coe, F.E.: First Book of Stories for the Story-teller. Houghton.
Hotchkiss, Mary T.: "Story-telling in the Kindergarten." N.E.A. Report, 1893.
Keyes, Angela: Stories and Story-Telling. Appleton.
Lyman, Edna: Story-Telling. McClurg.
McMurry, Charles: Special Method in Primary Reading. Macmillan.
O'Grady, Alice (Moulton), and Throop, Frances: The Story-Teller's Book. Rand.
Olcott, F.J.: "Story-Telling as a Means of Teaching Literature." N.Y. Libraries; vol. 4, pp. 38-43. Feb., 1914.
Olcott, Frances, and Pendleton, Amena: The Jolly Book for Boys and Girls. Houghton.
Partridge, E.N., and Partridge, G.E.: Story-Telling in School and Home. Sturgis.
St. John, Edward: Stories and Story-Telling. Westminster Press, Phila.
Shedlock, Marie: Art of the Story Teller. Appleton.
Speare, Georgina: "Story-Telling as an Art." Kindergarten Review, Dec., 1913, to May, 1914.
The Storyteller's Company: The Storyteller's Magazine. New York.
Corson, Hiram: Voice and Spiritual Education. Macmillan.
Curry, Samuel S.: Foundations of Expression. Expression Co.
Ibid.: Province of Expression: Expression Co.
Rush, James: The Philosophy of the Human Voice. Lippincott.
Quintilian, Marcus F.: Institutes of Oratory. Macmillan.
Gesture and Phonetics:
Chamberlain, W.B., and Clark, S.H.: Principles of Vocal Expression. Scott.
Jespersen, Otto: Growth and Structure of the English Language. Stechert.
Jones, Daniel: Pronunciation of English; Phonetics and Phonetic Transcriptions. Putnam.
Ibid.: Chart of English Speech Sounds. Oxford.
Rippman, Walter: Elements of Phonetics, English, French, and German. Dent.
Ibid.: The Sounds of Spoken English. Dent.
Sweet, Henry: Primer of Phonetics. Oxford.
Blow, Susan; Hill, Patty; and Harrison, Elizabeth: The Kindergarten. Houghton.
Blow, Susan: "The Kindergarten and the Primary Grade." Kindergarten Review, June, 1915.
Crawford, Caroline: "The Teaching of Dramatic Arts in the Kindergarten and the Elementary School." Teachers College Record, Sept., 1915.
McMurry, Frank M.: "Principles Underlying the Making of School Curricula." Teachers College Record, Sept., 1915.
Palmer, Luella: "Montessori Suggestions for Kindergartners." Kindergarten Review, Feb. 1915.
Ibid.: "Problems vs. Subject Matter as a Basis for Kindergarten Curriculum." Kindergarten Review, Nov., 1914.
Teachers College Record: "Experimental Studies in Kindergarten Education." Teachers College Record, Jan., 1914.
Thorndike, Edward L.: "Foundations of Educational Achievement." N.E.A. Report, 1914.
Archer, William: Play-Making. Small.
Bailey, Carolyn: "Toy Stories." "The Story of the Woolly Dog." Kindergarten Review, Feb., 1915.
Baker, Franklin T., and Thorndike, Ashley H.: Everyday English. Book One. Macmillan.
Barnes, Earl: Studies in Education. Drawing. Barnes.
Buffum, Katherine: Silhouettes to Cut in School. Bradley.
Crawford, Caroline: Dramatic Games and Dances. Barnes. Folk Dances and Games. Barnes. The Rhythms of Childhood. Barnes.
Curry, S.S.: Imagination and the Dramatic Instinct. Expression Co.
Dewey, John: The Child and the Curriculum. University of Chicago.
Ibid.: "Imagination and Expression." Kindergarten Magazine, Sept., 1896.
Dow, Arthur: "Color in the Kindergarten." Kindergarten Review, June, 1914.
Ibid.: Composition. Doubleday.
Harvey, Nellie: "Japanese Art in the Kindergarten." Kindergarten Review, Dec., 1914.
Hervey, Walter: Picture Work. Revell.
Laurie, S.S.: Lectures on Language and Linguistic Method in the School. Macmillan.
Macintosh, C.: "Toys Made by Little Children." Kindergarten Review, Jan., and Feb., 1914.
Maxwell, W.H.; Johnston, E.L.; and Barnum, M.: Speaking and Writing. American Book Co.
Oppenheimer, Carol: Drawing. Kindergarten Review, March, 1914.
Ibid.: "Scissors and Paper." Kindergarten Review, Jan., 1914.
Ibid.: "Suggestions Concerning Rhythm Plays." Kindergarten Review, April and May, 1915.
Ibid.: "The Use of the Song Exercise." Kindergarten Review, May, 1914.
Parker School: Francis W. Parker Year-Book, vol. III, June, 1914. ("Expression as a Means of Developing Motives.") Francis Parker School, Chicago.
Psychological Review: Monograph—"Development of Imagination in School Children." Suppl. Psych. Review, vol. XI, no. 1, 1909.
Wagner, Carrie: "Furniture for the Doll House." Kindergarten Review, Dec., 1914.
Worst, E.F.; Barber, H.; and Seymour, M.: Constructive Work. Mumford.
Zook, Mabel; and Maloy, Regina: "Illustrated Stories." Kindergarten Review, May, 1915.
THE HISTORY OF FAIRY TALES
The gods of ancient mythology were changed into the demi-gods and heroes of ancient poetry, and these demi-gods again became, at a later age, the principal characters of our nursery tales.—MAX MUELLER
Stories originally told about the characters of savage tales, were finally attracted into the legends of the gods of ancient mythology, or were attributed to demi-gods and heroes.—ANDREW LANG.
I. THE ORIGIN OF FAIRY TALES
Now that we have indicated the worth of fairy tales, have observed those principles which should guide the teacher in choosing and in interpreting a tale, and have stated those rules which should govern the story-teller in the telling of the tale, we may well ask a few further questions concerning the nature of these fairy tales. What is a fairy tale and whence did it come, and how are we to find its beginning? Having found it, how are we to follow it down through the ages? How shall it be classed, what are the available types which seek to include it and show its nature? And lastly, what are the books which are to be the main practical sources of fairy tales for the teacher of little children? The remaining pages attempt to give some help to the teacher who wishes to increase her resources with an intelligent knowledge of the material she is handling.
Many times the question, "What is a fairy tale?" has been asked. One has said: "The fairy tale is a poetic presentation of a spiritual truth." George MacDonald has answered: "Undine is a fairy tale." Mr. G.K. Chesterton has said: "A fairy tale is a tale told in a morbid age to the only remaining sane person, a child. A legend is a fairy tale told to men when men were sane." Some, scorning to reply, have treated the question as one similar to, "What poem do you consider best in the English language?" As there are many tales included here which do not contain a fairy, fairy tales here are taken to include tales which contain something fairy or extraordinary, the magic or the marvelous—fairies, elves, or trolls, speaking animals, trees, or a talkative Tin Soldier. The Myth proper and the Fable are both excluded here, while the pourquois tale, a myth development, and the Beast tale, a short-story fable development, are both included.
The origin of the word "fairy," as given by Thomas Keightley in his Fairy Mythology, and later in the Appendix of his Tales and Popular Fictions, is the Latin fatum, "to enchant." The word was derived directly from the French form of the root. The various forms of the root were:—
Latin fatum, "to enchant." French fee, feerie, "illusion." Italian fata. Provencal fada.
In old French romance, fee was a "woman skilled in magic." "All those women were called Fays who had to do with enchantment and charms and knew the power and virtue of words, of stones, and of herbs, by which they were kept in youth and in great beauty and in great riches." This was true also of the Italian fata.
The word "fairy" was used in four senses. Fairy represented:—
(1) Illusion, or enchantment.
(2) Abode of the Faes, the country of the Fays.
(3) Inhabitants collectively, the people of Fairyland.
(4) The individual in Fairyland, the fairy Knight, or Elf.
The word was used in the fourth sense before the time of Chaucer. After the appearance of Spenser's Faerie Queene distinctions became confused, and the name of the real fairies was transferred to "the little beings who made the green, sour ringlets whereof the ewe not bites." The change adopted by the poets gained currency among the people. Fairies were identified with nymphs and elves. Shakespeare was the principal means of effecting this revolution, and in his Midsummer Night's Dream he has incorporated most of the fairy lore known in England at his time. But the tales are older than their name.
The origin of fairy tales is a question which has kept many very able scholars busy and which has not yet been settled to the satisfaction of many. What has been discovered resolves itself mainly into four different origins of fairy tales:—
I. Fairy tales are detritus of myth, surviving echoes of gods and heroes. Against this theory it may be said that, when popular tales have incidents similar to Greek heroic myths, the tales are not detritus of myth, but both have a more ancient tale as their original source. There was:—
(1) A popular tale which reflected the condition of a rude people, a tale full of the monstrous and the miraculous.
(2) The same tale, a series of incidents and plot, with the monstrous element modified, which survived in the oral traditions of illiterate peasantry.
(3) The same plot and incidents, as they existed in heroic epics of cultivated people. A local and historical character was given by the introduction of known places and native heroes. Tone and manners were refined by literary workmanship, in the Rig Veda, the Persian King-book, the Homeric Epics, etc.
The Grimms noted that the evolution of the tale was from a strongly marked, even ugly, but highly expressive form of its earlier stages, to that which possessed external beauty of mold. The origin is in the fancy of a primitive people, the survival is through Maerchen of peasantry, and the transfiguration into epics is by literary artists. Therefore, one and the same tale may be the source of Perrault's Sleeping Beauty, also of a Greek myth, and also of an old tale of illiterate peasantry. This was the opinion held by Lang, who said, "For the roots of stories, we must look, not in the clouds but upon the earth, not in the various aspects of nature but in the daily occurrences and surroundings, in the current opinions and ideas of savage life."
In the savage Maerchen of to-day, the ideas and incidents are the inevitable result of the mental habits and beliefs of savages. We gain an idea of the savage mind through Leviticus, in the Bible, through Herodotus, Greek and Roman geographers, Aristotle, Plutarch, Pliny, etc., through voyagers, missionaries, and travelers, and through present savage peoples. Savage existence is based on two great institutions:—
(a) The division of society into clans.—Marriage laws depend on the conception that these clans descend from certain plants, animals, or inorganic objects. There was the belief in human descent from animals and kinship and personal intercourse with them.
(b) Belief in magic and medicine-men, which resulted in powers of metamorphosis, the effect of incantation, and communion with the dead.—To the savage all nature was animated, all things were persons. The leading ideas of savage peoples have already been referred to in the list of motifs which appear in the different fairy tales, as given by Lang, mentioned under the "Preparation of the Teacher," in The Telling of the Tale.
II. Fairy tales are myths of Sun, Dawn, Thunder, Rain, etc.
This is sometimes called the Sun-Myth Theory or the Aryan Theory, and it is the one advocated by Max Mueller and by Grimm.
The fairy tales were primitive man's experience with nature in days when he could not distinguish between nature and his own personality, when there was no supernatural because everything was endowed with a personal life. They were the poetic fancies of light and dark, cloud and rain, day and night; and underneath them were the same fanciful meanings. These became changed by time, circumstances in different countries, and the fancy of the tellers, so that they became sunny and many-colored in the South, sterner and wilder in the North, and more home-like in the Middle and West. To the Bushmen the wind was a bird, and to the Egyptian fire was a living beast. Even The Song of Six-Pence has been explained as a nature-myth, the pie being the earth and sky, the birds the twenty-four hours, the king the sun, the queen the moon, and the opening of the pie, day-break.
Every word or phrase became a new story as soon as the first meaning of the original name was lost. Andrew Lang tells how Kephalos the sun loved Prokris the dew, and slew her by his arrows. Then when the first meaning of the names for sun, dew, and rays was lost, Kephalos, a shepherd, loved Prokris, a nymph, and we have a second tale which, by a folk-etymology, became the Story of Apollo, the Wolf. Tales were told of the sun under his frog name; later people forgot that frog meant "sun," and the result was the popular tale, A Frog, He Would A-Wooing Go.
In regard to this theory, "It is well to remember," says Tylor in his Primitive Culture, "that rash inferences which, on the strength of mere resemblances, derive episodes of myth from episodes of nature, must be regarded with utter distrust; for the student who has no more stringent criterion than this for his myths of sun and sky and dawn will find them wherever it pleases him to seek them." There is a danger of being carried away by false analogies. But all scholars agree that some tales are evidently myths of sun and dawn. If we examine the natural history of savages, we do find summer feasts, winter feasts, rituals of sorrow for the going of summer and of rejoicing for its return, anxious interest in the sun, interest in the motion of the heavenly bodies, the custom of naming men and women from the phenomena of nature, and interest in making love, making war, making fun, and making dinner.
III. Fairy tales all arose in India, they are part of the common Aryan heritage and are to be traced by the remains of their language.
They were first written in the Vedas, the sacred Sanskrit books of Buddhism. This theory is somewhat allied to the Sun-Myth Theory. This theory was followed by Max Mueller and by Sir George Cox.
The theory of a common source in India will not answer entirely for the origin of tales because many similar tales have existed in non-Aryan countries. Old tales were current in Egypt, 2000 B.C., and were brought from there by Crusaders, Mongol missionaries, the Hebrews, and Gypsies.
The idea of connecting a number of disconnected stories, as we find in Arabian Nights, The Canterbury Tales, and the Decameron, is traced to the idea of making Buddha the central figure in the folk-literature of India. And Jacobs says that at least one-third of all the stories common to the children of Europe are derived from India, and by far the majority of the drolls. He also says that generally, so far as incidents are marvelous and of true fairy-like character, India is the probable source, because of the vitality of animism and transformation in India in all time. Moreover, as a people, the Hindus had spread among their numbers enough literary training and mental grip to invent plots.
And again, there is an accepted connection in myth and language between all Aryan languages and Sanskrit. According to Sir George Dasent, "The whole human race has sprung from one stock planted in the East, which has stretched its boughs and branches laden with the fruit of language and bright with the bloom of song and story, by successive offshoots to the utmost parts of the earth." Dasent tells how the Aryans who went west, who went out to do, were distinguished from the nations of the world by their common sense, by their power of adapting themselves to circumstances, by making the best of their position, by being ready to receive impressions, and by being able to develop impressions. They became the Greeks, the Latins, the Teutons, the Celts, and the Slavonians. The Aryans who stayed at home, remained to reflect, and were distinguished by their power of thought. They became a nation of philosophers and gave to the world the Sanskrit language as the basis of comparative philology. Dasent shows how legends, such as the Story of William Tell and Dog Gellert, which have appeared in many Aryan peoples were common in germ to the Aryan tribes before migration. Joseph Jacobs has more recently settled the travels of Gellert, tracing its literary route from the Indian Vinaya Pitaka, through the Fables of Bidpai, Sindibad, Seven Sages of Rome, Gesta Romanorum, and the Welsh Fables of Cottwg, until the legend became localized in Wales.
IV. Fairy tales owe their origin to the identity of early fancy.
Just as an individual, after thinking along certain lines, is surprised to come upon the exact sequence of his thought in a book he had never seen, so primitive peoples in remote parts of the world, up against similar situations, would express experience in tales containing similar motifs. A limited set of experiences was presented to the inventive faculty, and the limited combinations possible would result in similar combinations. The Aryan Jackal, the Mediaeval Reynard, the Southern Brer Rabbit, and the Weasel of Africa, are near relations. Dasent said, "In all mythology and tradition there are natural resemblances, parallelisms, suggested to the senses of each race by natural objects and everyday events; and these might spring up spontaneously all over the earth as home-growths, neither derived by imitation from other tribes, nor from the tradition of a common stock."
It is probable that all four theories of the origin of fairy tales are correct and that fairy tales owe their origin not to any one cause but to all four.
II. THE TRANSMISSION OF FAIRY TALES
Oral transmission. The tale, having originated, may have been transmitted in many ways: by women compelled to marry into alien tribes; by slaves from Africa to America; by soldiers returning from the Crusades; by pilgrims returning from the Holy Land or from Mecca; by knights gathering at tournaments; by sailors and travelers; and by commercial exchange between southern Europe and the East—Venice trading with Egypt and Spain with Syria. Ancient tales of Persia spread along the Mediterranean shores. In this way the Moors of Spain learned many a tale which they transmitted to the French. Jack the Giant-Killer and Thomas Thumb, according to Sir Walter Scott, landed in England from the very same keels and warships which conveyed Hengist and Horsa and Ebba the Saxon. A recent report of the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution of the United States expressed the opinion that the Uncle Remus Tales have an Indian origin. Slaves had associated with Indian tribes such as the Cherokees, and had heard the story of the Rabbit who was so clever that no one could fool him. Gradually the Southern negroes had adopted the Indian tales and changed them. Joseph Jacobs claims to have found the original of the "Tar Baby" in the Jataka Tales. A tale, once having originated, could travel as easily as the wind. Certainly a good type when once hit upon was diffused widely. Sir Walter Scott has said: "A work of great interest might be compiled from the origin of popular fiction and the transmission of similar tales from age to age and from country to country. The mythology of one period would then appear to pass into the romance of the next century, and that into the nursery tales of subsequent ages. Such an investigation would show that these fictions, however wild and childish, possess such charms for the populace as to enable them to penetrate into countries unconnected by manners and language, and having no apparent intercourse to afford the means of transmission."
Thomas Keightley, in Tales and Popular Fictions, has given interesting examples of the transmission of tales. Selecting Jack the Giant-Killer, he has shown that it is the same tale as Grimm's The Brave Tailor, and Thor's Journey to Utgard in the Scandinavian Edda. Similar motifs occur also in a Persian tale, Ameen of Isfahan and the Ghool, and in the Goat and the Lion, a tale from the Panchatantra. Selecting the Story of Dick Whittington he has shown that in England it was current in the reign of Elizabeth; that two similar tales, Danish legends, were told by Thiele; that a similar Italian tale existed at the time of Amerigo Vespucci, which was a legend told by Arlotto in 1396-1483; that another similar Italian tale was connected with the origin of Venice, in 1175; and that a similar tale existed in Persia in 1300, before 1360, when Whittington of England was born. He also pointed out that the Odyssey must have traveled east as well as west, from Greece, for Sindbad's adventure with the Black Giant is similar to that of Ulysses with the Cyclops.
Another interesting set of parallels shown by him is connected with the Pentamerone tale, Peruonto. This is the Straparola Peter the Fool, the Russian Emelyan the Fool, the Esthonian tale by Laboulaye, The Fairy Craw-Fish, and the Grimm The Fisherman and his Wife. The theme of a peasant being rewarded by the fish he had thrown back into the water takes on a delightful varied form in the tale of different countries. The magic words of Emelyan, "Up and away! At the pike's command, and at my request, go home, sledge!" in each variant take an interesting new form.
Literary transmission. The travels of a tale through oral tradition are to be attempted with great difficulty and by only the most careful scholarship. One may follow the transmission of tales through literary collections with somewhat greater ease and exactness. Popular tales have a literature of their own. The following list seeks to mention the most noteworthy collections:—
No date. Vedas. Sanskrit.
No date. Zend Avesta. Persian.
Fifth century, B.C. Jatakas. Probably the oldest literature. It was written at Ceylon and has been translated into 38 languages, in 112 editions. Recently the Cambridge edition has been translated from the Pali, edited by E.B. Cowell, published by Putnam, New York, 1895-1907.
4000 B.C. Tales of Ancient Egypt. These were the tales of magicians, recorded on papyrus.
600 B.C. (about). Homeric Legends.
200 B.C. (about). Book of Esther.
Second century, A.D. The Golden Ass, Metamorphoses of Apuleius.
550 A.D. Panchatantra, the Five Books. This was a Sanskrit collection of fables, the probable source of the Fables of Bidpai.
Second century, A.D. The Hitopadesa, or Wholesome Instruction. A selection from the Panchatantra, first edited by Carey, in 1804; by Max Mueller, in 1844.
550 A.D. Panchatantra. Pehlevi version.
Tenth century, A.D. Panchatantra. Arabic version.
Eleventh century, A.D. Panchatantra. Greek version.
Twelfth century, A.D. Panchatantra. Persian version.
1200 A.D. Sanskrit Tales. These tales were collected by Somadeva Bhatta, of Cashmere, and were published to amuse the Queen of Cashmere. They have been translated by Brockhaus, 1844. Somadeva's Ocean of the Streams of Story has been translated by Mr. Tawney, of Calcutta, 1880.
Tales of the West came from the East in two sources:—
1262-78. (1) Directorium Humanae Vitae, of John of Capua. This was translated from the Hebrew, from the Arabic of the eighth century, from the Pehlevi of Persia of the sixth century, from the Panchatantra, from the Sanskrit original. This is the same as the famous Persian version, The Book of Calila and Dimna, attributed to Bidpai, of India. There was a late Persian version, in 1494, and one in Paris in 1644, which was the source of La Fontaine.
Thirteenth century. (2) The Story of the Seven Sages of Rome, or The Book of Sindibad. This appeared in Europe as the Latin History of the Seven Sages of Rome, by Dame Jehans, a monk in the Abbey of Haute Selve. There is a Hebrew, an Arabic, and a Persian version. It is believed the Persian version came from Sanskrit but the Sanskrit original has not yet been found.
Tenth century. Reynard the Fox. This was first found as a Latin product of the monks, in a cloister by the banks of the Mosel and Mass. Reynard the Fox shares with AEsop's Fables the distinction of being folk-lore raised into literature. It is a series of short stories of adventure forming a romance. These versions are known:—
1180. German-Reinhart, an epic of twelve adventures by Heinrich Glichesaere.
1230. French-Roman de Renard, with its twenty-seven branches.
1250. Flemish-Reinaert, part of which was composed by Willem, near Ghent.
1148. Ysengrimus, a Latin poem written at Ghent.
Thirteenth century. Of the Vox and of the Wolf, an English poem.
Later date. Rainardo, Italian.
Later date. Greek mediaeval version.
Reynard the Fox was first printed in England by Caxton in 1481, translated from a Dutch copy. A copy of Caxton's book is in the British Museum. Caxton's edition was adapted by "Felix Summerley"; and Felix Summerley's edition, with slight changes, was used by Joseph Jacobs in his Cranford edition.
A Dutch prose romance, Historie von Reynaert de Vos was published in 1485. A German copy, written in Lower Saxony was published in 1498. A chap-book, somewhat condensed, but giving a very good account of the romance, was published in London in 1780, printed and sold in Aldermary Churchyard, Bow Lane. This chap-book is very much finer in language than many of the others in Ashton's collection. Its structure is good, arranged in nine chapters. It shows itself a real classic and would be read with pleasure to-day. Goethe's poem, Reineke Fuchs, was published in 1794. This version was more refined than previous ones but it lost in simplicity. Monographs have been written on Reynard by Grimm, Voigt, Martin, and Sudre.
Raginhard was a man's name, meaning "strong in counsel," and was common in Germany which bordered on France. This name naturally was given to the beast who lived by his wits. Grimm considered Reynard the result of a Teutonic Beast Epic of primitive origin. Later research has exploded this theory and has decided that all versions are descended from an original French one existing between 1150 and 1170. Modern editions have come from the Flemish version. The literary artist who compiled Reynard took a nucleus of fables and added to it folk-tales which are known to have existed in the eleventh and twelfth centuries and which exist to-day as tradition among some folk. The folk-tales included in Reynard are: Reynard and Dame Wolf; The Iced Wolf's Tail; The Fishes in the Car; The Bear in the Cleft; The Wolf as Bell-Ringer; and The Dyed Fox. The method of giving individual names to the animals such as Reynard, Bruin, and Tibert, was current among the Folk before a literary form was given to Reynard. As this was the custom in the province of Lorraine it is supposed that the origin of these names was in Lorraine. Other names, such as Chanticleer, the Cock, and Noble, the Lion, were given because of a quality, and indicate a tendency to allegory. These names increase in the later development of the romance. In the beginning when the beasts had only personal adventures, these were told by the Folk to raise a laugh. Later there was a meaning underneath the laugh and the Beast Epic Comedy of the Folk grew into the world Beast Satire of the literary artist.
Reynard exhibits the bare struggle for existence which was generally characteristic of Feudal life. Cunning opposes force and triumphs over it. The adventurous hero appeals because of his faculty of adjustment, his power to adapt himself to circumstances and to master them. He also appeals because of his small size when compared with the other animals. In the Middle Ages Reynard appealed because it was a satire upon the monks. Of Reynard Carlyle has said, "It comes before us with a character such as can belong only to very few; that of being a true World's Book which through centuries was everywhere at home, the spirit of which diffused itself into all languages and all minds."
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About one tenth of European folk-lore is traced to collections used in the Middle Ages: Fables of Bidpai, Seven Wise Masters, Gesta Romanorum, and Barlaam and Josophat. These tales became diffused through the Exempla of the monks, used in their sermons, through the Novelle of Italy, the Decameron of Boccaccio, the Tales of Chaucer, Painter's Palace of Pleasure, and the Elizabethan Drama of England. One half of La Fontaine's Fables are of Indian sources.
1326. The Gesta Romanorum, written in Latin. This was a compilation, by the monks, of stories with a moral appended to each. It was the most popular story-book before the invention of printing. In England it was printed by Wynkyn de Worde, of which edition the only known copy is at St. John's College, Cambridge. The earliest manuscript of the collection is dated 1326. Between 1600 and 1703 fifteen editions of the book prove its popularity. One English version is by Sir Frederick Madden, who lived 1801-73. The author of the Gesta Romanorum is unknown, but was likely a German. The stories included are miscellaneous and vary in different editions. Among its stories are Oriental tales, tales of the deeds of Roman Emperors, an early form of Guy of Warwick, the casket episode of The Merchant of Venice, a story of the Jew's bond, a tale of the Emperor Theodosius, being a version of King Lear, the story of the Hermit, and a tale of Aglas, the daughter of the Roman Emperor Pompey, being a version of Atalanta and her Race.
1000 A.D. (about). Shah-Nameh, or King-book of Persia, by Ferdousee, born about 940 A.D. This book is the pride and glory of Persian literature. It was written by the Persian poet at the command of the king, who wished to have preserved the old traditions and heroic glories of Persians before the Arabian conquest. Ferdousee declared that he invented none of his material, but took it from the Bostan-Nameh or Old-Book.
The King-Book is very ancient, it is the Persian Homer. It was the labor of thirty years. It consisted of 56,000 distichs or couplets, for every thousand of which the Sultan had promised the poet one thousand pieces of gold. Instead of the elephant-load of gold promised, the Sultan sent in payment 60,000 small silver coins. This so enraged the poet that he gave away one third to the man who brought them, one third to a seller of refreshments, and one third to the keeper of the bath where the messenger found him. After the poet's death the insult was retrieved by proper payment. This was refused by his one daughter, but accepted by the other and used to erect a public dike the poet had always desired to build to protect his native town from the river. The fine character of the tales of the King-Book is shown in the tale of Roostem and Soohrab, taken from this book, which Keightley has translated in Tales and Popular Fictions. Keightley considered it superior to any Greek or Latin tale. Modern literature knows this tale through Matthew Arnold's poem.