The Blue Fairy Book
Large Type Edition
By Andrew Lang
BiblioLife (2008), 392 pages
Genre: Classics - Children's Fiction
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - November 14, 2010
Andrew Lang (1844-1912) wrote a number of books of fairy tales and differentiated each from the other by color; for example, this one is green, another is pink, and another is blue. This volume contains over forty tales, a dozen of which are well-known:
As can be expected, even the lesser-known tales have delightful familiar features that children will enjoy and some outdated improper statements. The Bronze Ring is an example. It has royalty, love by a princess of a commoner, a genie, magic, an evil magician, magic numbers, the need to help the unfortunate, and adventures.
A king has a large piece of land that does not grow beautiful plants. His advisors tell him that he is using gardeners who have no pedigree. If he would find a gardener whose parents and grandparents were gardeners, he would take care of the land properly. The soldiers search for such a man and find him. He comes to the palace with his wife and son. The king has a sixteen year old daughter, and she and the son fall in love.
The king wants to marry his daughter to the son of a prominent man. His daughter rejects him and says she want to marry the gardenerís son. The kingís advisors suggest a test. During the test, the son of the prominent person fails to help an old woman. The gardenerís son helps her and she tells him how to get hold of a bronze ring which contains a genie who will grant wishes. The genie helps the son attain the kingís daughter. A bad magician hears about the ring and is able to get it from the kingís daughter. The gardenerís son has to find a way to get it back.
The story is filled with many adventures, the magical number three is mentioned frequently, and there is a prejudicial statement in the tale about blacks.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of sixteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes Wagner and Drazin's latest book Let's Study Onkelos on www.ou.org/torah.