Unassuming in plot and style, "Heidi" may none the less lay claim to rank as a world classic. In the first place, both background and characters ring true. The air of the Alps is wafted to us in every page; the house among the pines, the meadows, and the eagle poised above the naked rocks form a picture that no one could willingly forget. And the people, from the kindly towns-folk to the quaint and touching peasant types, are as real as any representation of human nature need be. Every goat even, has its personality. As for the little heroine, she is a blessing not only to everyone in the story, but to everyone who reads it. The narrative merits of the book are too apparent to call for comment.
As to the author, Johanna Spyri, she has so entirely lost herself in her creation that we may pass over her career rather rapidly. She was born in Switzerland in 1829, came of a literary family, and devoted all her talent to the writing of books for and about children.
Man's inclination to decorate his belongings has always been one of the earliest signs of civilisation. Art had its beginning in the lines indented in clay, perhaps, or hollowed in the wood of family utensils; after that came crude colouring and drawing.More info →
A FAIRY is a humorous person sadly out of fashion at pre-sent, who has had, nevertheless, in the actors' phrase, a long and prosperous run on this planet. When we speak of fairies nowadays, we think only of small sprites who live in a kingdom of their own, with manners, laws, and privileges very different from ours. But there was a time when "fairy" suggested also the knights and ladies of romance, about whom fine spirited tales were told when the world was younger. Spenser's Faery Queen, for instance, deals with dream-people, beautiful and brave, as do the old stories of Arthur and Roland; people who either never lived, or who, having lived, were glorified and magnified by tradition out of all kinship with common men.More info →
Cinderella, or "The Little Glass Slipper", is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances, that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The oldest documented version comes from China, and the oldest European version from Italy. The most popular version was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697, and later by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms' Fairy Tales.More info →
I met him first in a hurricane; and though we had gone through the hurricane on the same schooner, it was not until the schooner had gone to pieces under us that I first laid eyes on him. Without doubt I had seen him with the rest of the kanaka crew on board, but I had not consciously been aware of his existence, for the Petite Jeanne was rather overcrowded.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 →
IT was a bright, beautiful, warm day when our ship spread her canvas to the breeze, and sailed for the regions of the south. Oh, how my heart bounded with delight as I listened to the merry chorus of the sailors, while they hauled at the ropes and got in the anchor! The captain shouted; the men ran to obey; the noble ship bent over to the breeze, and the shore gradually faded from my view, while I stood looking on with a kind of feeling that the whole was a delightful dream.More info →
It was the third week in September when the Fairfields left the seashore and returned to their Vernondale home.
“Now, my child,” said Mr. Fairfield, as they sat on the veranda after dinner, “I will unfold to you my plans for the coming winter, and you may accept, or reject, or amend them as you please.”More info →