IN the year 1719 an Englishman whose name was Daniel Defoe wrote a very long story, which he called "The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe." His story was not designed for children, and therefore it contained a great deal of hard reading. There was much in it, however, that was interesting to young people, and from that day to this, the marvelous tale of Robinson Crusoe has been a favorite with boys as well as men. I have rewritten the story in words easy for every child, and have shortened it by leaving out all the dull parts.More info →
THE romance entitled "The Achievements of the Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quixote de la Mancha," was originally written in Spanish by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. It was published in two parts, the first in 1605 and the second in 1615—now just about three hundred years ago. Among the great books of the world it holds a permanent place. It has been translated into every language of Europe, even Turkish and Slavonic. It has been published in numberless editions. It has been read and enjoyed by men of the most diverse tastes and conditions.More info →
YOU must rise early in the morning," said Dame Louhi, the Wise Woman of the North. She stood at the door of her chamber and looked back into the low-raftered hall where her daughter was spinning. Her face was wrinkled and grim, her thin lips were puckered over her toothless mouth, her gray-green eyes sparkled beneath her shaggy eyebrows.More info →
Jean Bodel a minstrel of the thirteenth century, wrote, "There are but three subjects which interest men,—the tales of France, of Britain, and of Rome the great; and to these subjects there is nothing like. The tales of Britain are so light and pleasant, those of Rome are wise and of teachful sense; those of France, truly every day of greater appearance."More info →
WHEN the world was in its childhood, men looked upon the works of Nature with a strange kind of awe. They fancied that every thing upon the earth, in the air, or in the water, had a life like their own, and that every sight which they saw, and every sound which they heard, was caused by some intelligent being. All men were poets, so far as their ideas and their modes of expression were concerned, although it is not likely that any of them wrote poetry. This was true in regard to the Saxon in his chilly northern home, as well as to the Greek in the sunny southland.More info →
SINCE the publication of my larger book, "The Horse Fair," many letters have been received from teachers and their scholars telling of the pleasure derived from the reading of it, and incidentally suggesting that much of its contents is directly in line with the courses of literary instruction pursued in our elementary schools. This suggestion has led me to col-lect certain of the stories into a smaller volume especially adapted for use as a school reading-book.More info →
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS discovered America on the 12th of October, 1492. He had spent eighteen years in planning for that wonderful first voyage which he made across the Atlantic Ocean. The thoughts and hopes of the best part of his life had been given to it. He had talked and argued with sailors and scholars and princes and kings, saying, "I know that, by sailing west across the great ocean, one may at last reach lands that have never been visited by Europeans." But he had been laughed at as a foolish dreamer, and few people had any faith in his projects.More info →
YOU have heard of Homer, and of the two wonderful poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which bear his name. No one knows whether these poems were composed by Homer, or whether they are the work of many different poets. And, in fact, it matters very little about their authorship. Everybody agrees that they are the grandest poems ever sung or written or read in this world; and yet, how few persons, comparatively, have read them, or know any thing about them except at second-hand!More info →
AS you open this book you will probably ask, "What is a golden deed?"
Let me tell you. It is the doing of something for somebody else doing it without thought of self, without thought of reward, fearlessly, heroically, and because it is a duty.
The longer stories in this book are called Fairy Stories, because that is the name by which such tales are always known to children; and yet only a very few contain any direct reference to fairies. The most of them have to do with talking animals and with strange incidents and transformations such as have always delighted the childish fancy.More info →