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TO THE FIRST EDITION.
SINCE dragons and fairies, giants and witches,
have vanished from our nurseries before the wand of reason, it has been a prevailing maxim, that the young mind should be fed on mere prose and simple matter of fact. A fear, rational in its origin, of adding, by superstitious and idle terrors, to the natural weakness of childhood, or contaminating, by any thing false or impure, its truth and innocence -has, by some writers, and some parents, been carried to so great an excess, that probably no work would be considered by them as unexceptionable for the use of children, in which any scope was allowed to the fanciful or marvellous. It may well be questioned, however,