19 short folktales written by Richard Adams
with illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert
and Jennifer Campbell
I found this nice book (1980) on a fleamarket,
my edition is in dutch!
In this volume Richard Adams has collected
together nineteen enchanting folk-tales from
almost as many parts of the world - from Europe
to China and from Polynesia to the Arctic Circle.
Each has a special magic, an aura that is sometimes
beautiful and fascinating, sombre and frightening,
or exciting and colourful. But what unites all these
stories is the essential quality of folk-lore,
something that transcends the boundaries of nations,
of custom and time, that gives them their permanence
and universality of appeal. 'Authors need folk-tales,'
Richard Adams says, 'in the same way as composers
need folk-song. They're the headspring of the narrator's art,
where the story stands forth at its simple, irreducible best.
They don't date, any more than dreams, for they
are the collective dreams of humanity.'
In order to preserve as far as possible the immediacy
and directness of authentic folk story-telling, each
of the nineteen tales is presented as being told by
an imagined narrator to one or more hearers at
a particular time and place, sometimes past,
sometimes present. However, the reader is never told
the identity either of the teller or his hearers,
but is left free to infer both them and the occasion
solely from the narrator's own words.
This original technique adds a novel dash of piquancy
to this fine collection.