Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales | Annotated Tale

Note that only the "Fireside Nursery Stories" section of this book has been included in the database comprising 19 tales. COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in November 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Fireside Nursery Stories

THE efforts of modern romance are so greatly superior to the best fictions of a former age, that old wives' tales are not so readily tolerated as they were in times past. We question whether any one in these days, save a very grave antiquary, could read two chapters of the Morte Arthure without a yawn. Let us, then, turn to that simpler class of narratives which bears the same relation to novels that rural ballads do to the poem; and ascertain whether the wild interest which, in the primitive tales erewhile taught by nurse, first awakened our imagination, can be so reflected as to render their resuscitation agreeable. We rely a good deal for the success of the experiment on the power of association; for though these inventions may, in their character, be suited to the dawn of intellect, they not infrequently bear the impress of creative fancy, and their imperceptible influence over the mind does not always evaporate at a later age.

               Few persons, indeed, there are, even amongst those who affect to be insignificantly touched by the imagination, who can be recalled to the stories and carols that charmed them in their childhood wholly without emotion. An affectation of indifference in such matters is, of course, not unusual, for most thoughts springing from early associations, and those on which so many minds love to dwell, may not be indiscriminately divulged. It is impossible they should be generally appreciated or understood. Most of us, however, are liable to be occasionally touched by allusions breathing of happy days, bearing our memories downward to behold the shadows of joys that have long passed away like a dream. They now serve only "to mellow our occasions," like that "old and antique song" which relieved the passion of the Duke Orsino.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Fireside Nursery Stories
Tale Author/Editor: Halliwell, James Orchard
Book Title: Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales
Book Author/Editor: Halliwell, James Orchard
Publisher: John Russell Smith
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1849
Country of Origin: England
Classification: Introduction

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