Such a swirling, sinuous, insinuating jacket; such a dispirited text. Designedly, the focus is on tales rather than legends, although a few conclude the collection. Most are familiar, and many are adapted from familiar sources--often with a loss of piquancy and shading. In ""Fair, Brown and Trembling,"" for example, Jacobs has Trembling overtaking the wind before her and outstripping the wind behind which here becomes: ""she overtook the wind and left it behind her."" Call it simplification or emasculation, the imagery is flabby throughout; the best that can be said about these is that they are handled with a certain dispatch. In a field in which (in alphabetical order) Colum, Dunbar, MacManus, O'Faolain, Picard, Sawyer, Sutcliffe and Young have also scored, there's very little need for this addition, however agreeable its appearance: better fresh editions of some of the old storytellers.