THE WITCH OF THE WOODS: Fairy Tales from Sweden by Helena Nyblom

THE WITCH OF THE WOODS: Fairy Tales from Sweden

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It's unfortunate that the first two stories are inconsequential, unfortunate too that the telling (i.e. the translation) has little style or polish, for this collection-- representing a near-contemporary of Anderson who is little known here--has some piquant situations, some fresh and felicitous particulars. Also, in the two longest stories, a poignance that will appeal to romantic girls. The saga of ""Odd Olle"" shows all aspects to advantage; he is first met sharing the limited largesse of the crones in the poorhouse with Semiranis the cat, and the cat, being more congenial, is the more favored of the two; when last seen he is a peripatetic pied piper, having learned that innocence soon exhausts its welcome everywhere. In a lighter vein, there's ""All My Lambkins and All My Bear Cubs,"" in which the princess' lively lambs become dull sheep, the prince's playful cubs become wild bears, and the prince and princess turn to each other. The funniest is ""Why Eyvin Won the Race""--though just why his horse was offended by each of the objects he made Eyvin discard before he would take another step is not clear. If the stories are uneven, the illustrations, saucy to somber, are consistently engaging, and the cover is the nosegay it depicts.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Knopf