The Olive Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Olive Fairy Book
Andrew Lang

Fairies, sprites, brownies, pixies and other tiny mythical creatures have featured in the folklore of many nations over the years.  Publishers, writers, anthologists and illustrators have also embraced the tales of the wee people and have retold them again and again.

Some cultures believe they are a subclass of the dead while others see them as spirits of the air, water or earth.  Often these small creatures are playful, but they can also be evil and malicious with questionable motives – it pays not to cross a fairy.

A particularly famous collection from this intriguing genre was Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books series. They contained many of the classic fairy stories Lang grew up reading in the rural Scottish Borders, as well as doses of the violent and mischievous side of the little beasts.  The 12 books were published beginning in 1889, with The Blue Fairy Book, and concluded with The Lilac Fairy Book in 1910. 

The rich art of Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac brought traditional, classical fairies to life for millions of readers, while more modern illustrators like Brian Froud often take a humourous approach to the subject as seen in Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book.

Whether you’re a devout fairy-fan, a strict non-believer or just curious, this genre is highly collectable thanks to beautiful illustrations and memorable tales.

The Real Fairy Tales

Puck of Pook’s Hill by Rudyard Kipling
Puck of Pook′s Hill
Rudyard Kipling
Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit
Five Children and It
Edith Nesbit
The Goblin Spider by Lafcadio Hearn
The Goblin Spider
Lafcadio Hearn
British Goblins by Wirt Sikes
British Goblins
Wirt Sikes
Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs
Celtic Fairy Tales
Joseph Jacobs
The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley
The Water Babies
Charles Kingsley
The Fairy Circus by Dorothy P. Lathrop
The Fairy Circus
Dorothy P. Lathrop

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