In this volume Richard Adams has collected together nineteen enchanting folk-tales from almost as many parts of the world - from Europe to China and from Polynesia to the Arctic Circle. Each has a special magic, an aura that is sometimes beautiful and fascinating, sombre and frightening, or exciting and colourful. But what unites all these stories is the essential quality of folk-lore, something that transcends the boundaries of nations, of custom and time, that gives them their permanence and universality of appeal. 'Authors need folk-tales,' Richard Adams says, 'in the same way as composers need folk-song. They're the headspring of the narrator's art, where the story stands forth at its simple, irreducible best. They don't date, any more than dreams, for they are the collective dreams of humanity.' In order to preserve as far as possible the immediacy and directness of authentic folk story-telling, each of the nineteen tales is presented as being told by an imagined narrator to one or more hearers at a particular time and place, sometimes past, sometimes present. However, the reader is never told the identity either of the teller or his hearers, but is left free to infer both them and the occasion solely from the narrator's own words. This original technique adds a novel dash of piquancy to this fine collection.
October 1983 : USA Hardback
September 1980 : UK Hardback
February 1982 : UK Mass Market Paperback