CARMEN SYLVA (H. M. Queen Elisabeth of Roumania) and ALMA STRETTLE


THE first ten of these stories are taken from the German of Carmen Sylva, who has kindly given the translator her special permission to add them to the following collection of legends. The originals are to be found in her charm­ing volumes of Roumanian tales: "Pelesch Marchen" and "Durch die Jahrhunderte."

Many of them are associated with the mountains which surround her home among the pine-woods of Sinaia; others belong to the districts traversed by the Pelesch River, the merry stream that dashes through the ravine at the foot of her garden, "whispering all sorts of wonders and secrets to those who have ears to hear."

The remaining tales in the volume are collected from dif­ferent parts of Germany. "The Little Glass-man," a legend of the Black Forest, is taken from "Hauff's Märchen"; the other stories are all compiled from, or founded upon, legends to be met with in various German collections, such as Ziehnert's, Prohle's, &c.1 Most of them, however, are there set forth in so condensed a form, and with such scanty detail, that they could hardly prove of interest as stories, and therefore, they have in sundry cases been somewhat amplified and developed; or, where there was a resemblance between several legends belonging to different districts, indicating that they had a common source, their varying incidents have been worked into one tale.

It will be seen that the latter part, at least, of this volume makes no claim to be considered as an addition to the serious literature of Folk-lore. Its endeavour is rather to furnish the younger readers of the present generation with a fresh supply of stories—half legend, half fairy-tale—of a kind with which the children of an earlier day were familiar, but which are now less often to be met with; stories which came to them also from foreign lands, and were invested with a charm which it has been vainly sought, as the compiler fears, to impart to the present series.

September 1895

1No Rhine legends have been introduced, as they were considered to be already so widely known.