Thirteen stories selected from the extensive and scholarly Borzoi Book of French Folk Tales (1956), the stories reprinted almost verbatim, the terminal notes considerably condensed, the illustrations new. The original title was more apt: these are the traditional folk tales underlying the more formal and literary French fairy tale. But that's minor--as recorded by noted folklorist Delarue, these are less familiar versions of more or less familiar plots and motifs, all in sharp, spare, wry tellings. The Traveling Musicians, for instance, is here The Journey to Toulouse of the Animals That Had Colds; they're in search of a cure, not cast-offs. A similar unsentimentality distinguishes many of these: Petit Jean, the king's youngest son, doesn't want to take the trouble to try for the crown, then decides he'd like to be king more than he cares to admit; when a beautiful princess invites him to the palace wife-judging, he forsakes his frog-bride: ""Well, too bad for the frog."" (She's the princess, of course, but he doesn't know it, and she has no bad feelings.) Authentic entertainment, suited for reading or relating, and spaciously set.