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To my dear Children, Maja, Harry, and Herbert.
EARLY all the Tales that are printed in this little book were written many years ago.
Your mamma and your grandmamma learned them when they were little children like yourselves, and I dare say they will be great favourites with boys and girls for many, many years to come.
The Wonderful Story of Henny-Penny,” and “The Robin's Yule Song,” are tales told by nurses in Scotland; and I have to thank Mr. Robert Chambers for allowing me to reprint them for you in English. The “ Story of the Three Bears” is a very old Nursery Tale, but it never was so well told as by the great poet Southey, whose version I have (with permission) given you, only I have made the intruder a little girl instead of an old
This I did because I found that the tale is better known with SILVER-Hair, and because there are so many other stories of old women.
Mr. Absolon, and Mr. Wehnert, and Mr. Meadows, and Mr. Weir, have made a great number of famous pictures for this book, and I am sure you will be very much pleased with them. When you are old enough to learn to draw men and animals, these pictures will serve you excellently well as copies; but you must begin with some that are more easy to draw.
As you already know some of these tales by heart, I hope you will soon learn the others.
I do not mean word for word, but only the stories of them, so that when you go out to see other little boys and girls, or other little boys and girls come to see you, you may be able to amuse them, and then I dare say they will tell you tales as good as those you have told them.
Your loving Father,
Kentish Town, Nov. 1849.