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Old 02-19-2016, 04:42 AM   #1
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De Morgan, Mary: The Windfairies and Other Tales (illus). v1.1. 19 Feb 2016

The Windfairies and Other Tales
By Mary De Morgan (1850–1907)
Illustrated by Olive Cockerell (1869–1910)

First published 1900.
The text and illustrations of this book are in the public domain worldwide because the creators died more than one hundred years ago; and first publication was prior to 1923.

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Mary De Morgan, an English writer, was the author of three volumes of fairy tales: “On a Pincushion” (1877), “The Necklace of Princess Fiorimonde” (1880) and “The Windfairies” (1900). She also wrote short stories, a number of socio-political articles, and, under the name William Dodson, the novel “A Choice of Chance” (1887).

Although De Morgan is one of the lesser known authors of literary fairytales, her writings played a comprehensive and central role in the evolution of the genre. Edith Nesbit, among other writers, took inspiration from De Morgan.

Her works, influenced by Hans Christian Andersen, are remarkable in deviating from the fairytale norm (not always having a happy ending, or having the protagonist gain, not wealth or power, but rather, the wisdom to recognize the value of living without these things); and in the subtle satirical element of political comment. Her stories frequently have strong female protagonists (often outwitting or rescuing men), and sometimes mock society's expectations of women. A theme runs through many De Morgan stories of the pitfalls of pride and vanity, and redemption from such folly.
(—Adapted from Wikipedia.)

EXCERPT -- from The Ploughman and the Gnome:
Spoiler:
A YOUNG PLOUGHMAN was following his plough in a field one morning when suddenly the horses stopped, and do what he would he could not make them stir. Then he tried to push the plough himself, but he could not move it one hair’s-breadth. He stooped down to see what could be stopping it, when a deep voice cried, “Stop, I am coming up.” The voice was so loud that the ploughman shook with fear, but though he looked all around him, he could see no one from whom it could come. But presently it spoke again (only this time it was a little lower), and called out, “Have patience, and I shall be up in a moment.” The ploughman quaked in every limb, and stood quite still, and the voice began again (but this time it was no louder than most folks’), and it said— “If you will only not be in such a hurry, I will tell you what I want. Look in front of your horse’s right foot, and pick me up.”

He bent down and looked on the ground, and there in the earth, just in front of his horse’s right foot, he saw what he thought was a little black lizard. He touched it very cautiously, and started back with surprise when the voice spoke again, and he found it came from this tiny creature.

“Yes,” it said, “that is quite right. You can pick me up in your hand if you like, but I think I must grow a little bigger, as I am really uncomfortably small,” and while he held it on the palm of his hand, the ploughman saw that it was beginning to grow larger, and it swelled so fast that in a few seconds it was near a foot high, and he had to take both hands to hold it. Then he saw that it was not a lizard, but a little black woman with a face that looked as though it were made of india-rubber, and ugly little black hands.

“There, that will do,” said the strange little gnome. “That is a nice useful size. Oh dear, how tiring growing is! I don’t think I’ll be any bigger just yet. Now be sure you don’t drop me, and handle me very carefully, for I do not like to be roughly touched. I have not slept nearly as long as I meant to. I wanted a hundred years’ nap, and it cannot be more than fifty, but now that I am awake I think I will keep so for a bit. You seem to be rather a nice civil young man. How would you like to take me for a lodger?”

And then? And then?

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Text and illustrations were obtained from the Internet Archive. OCR errors were corrected; punctuation, italics, and diacritics formatted; some paragraph breaks added for improved readability. Embedded font for titling.

MANY MANY THANKS to forum member Mazza1954 for supplying missing text fragments -- her assistance was invaluable!

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Enjoy the magic.


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EDIT: UPLOADED CORRECTED VERSION. The previous formatting was very ill due to a corruption in the stylesheet. Previous downloads: 11.
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