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Old 02-19-2016, 11:47 AM   #1
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De Morgan, Mary: On a Pincushion and Other Fairy Tales (illus). v1. 19 Feb 2016

On a Pincushion and Other Fairy Tales
By Mary De Morgan (1850–1907)
Illustrated by William De Morgan (1839–1917)

First published 1877. The text of this book is in the public domain worldwide because the author died more than one hundred years ago. The illustrations are in the public domain in countries where copyright is “Life+90” or less, and in the USA.

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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 Story of the Opal:
Spoiler:
THE SUN WAS SHINING BRIGHTLY one hot summer day, and a little Sunbeam slid down his long golden ladder, and crept unperceived under the leaves of a large tree. All the Sunbeams are in reality tiny Sun-fairies, run down to earth on golden ladders, which look to mortals like rays of the Sun. When they see a cloud coming, they climb their ladders in an instant, and draw them up after them into the Sun. The Sun is ruled by a mighty fairy, who every morning tells his tiny servants, the beams, where they are to shine, and every evening counts them on their return, to see he has the right number.

It is not known, but the Sun and Moon are enemies, and that is why they never shine at the same time. The fairy of the Moon is a woman, and all her beams are tiny women, who come down on the loveliest little ladders, like threads of silver. No one knows why the Sun and Moon quarrelled. Once they were very good friends. Some say it is because the Sun wished to marry her, and she did not like him, but preferred a sea king, for whose sake she always keeps near the world. Others think it is because of a piece of land which the Moon claimed as her own, and on which the Sun one day shone so strongly that he dried up and killed all the plants and grass there, which offended the Moon very much. Anyhow, it remains that they are bitter enemies, and the Sunbeams and Moonbeams may not play together.


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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.

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Victorian fairy tales -- please enjoy!
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This work is assumed to be in the Life+70 public domain OR the copyright holder has given specific permission for distribution. Copyright laws differ throughout the world, and it may still be under copyright in some countries. Before downloading, please check your country's copyright laws. If the book is under copyright in your country, do not download or redistribute this work.

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