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WE may assume that we are not singular
in entertaining a very great tenderness for
the fairy literature of our childhood. What
enchanted us then, and is captivating a million
of young fancies now, has, at the same blessed
time of life, enchanted vast hosts of men and
women who have done their long day's work,
and laid their grey heads down to rest. It
would be hard to estimate the amount of
gentleness and mercy that has made its way
among us through these slight channels.
Forbearance, courtesy, consideration for the
poor and aged, kind treatment of animals, the
love of nature, abhorrence of tyranny and
brute forcemany such good things have
been first nourished in the child's heart by
this powerful aid. It has greatly helped to
keep us, in some sense, ever young, by preserving
through our worldly ways one slender
track not overgrown with weeds, where we
may walk with children, sharing their delights.

In an utilitarian age, of all other times, it
is a matter of grave importance that Fairy
tales should be respected. Our English red
tape is too magnificently red ever to be employed
in the tying up of such trifles, but
every one who has considered the subject
knows full well that a nation without fancy,
without some romance, never did, never
can, never will, hold a great place under the
sun. The theatre, having done its worst
to destroy these admirable fictionsand
having in a most exemplary manner destroyed
itself, its artists, and its audiences, in that
perversion of its dutyit becomes doubly
important that the little books themselves,
nurseries of fancy as they are, should be preserved.
To preserve them in their usefulness,
they must be as much preserved in their
simplicity, and purity, and innocent extravagance,
as if they were actual fact. Whosoever
alters them to suit his own opinions,
whatever they are, is guilty, to our thinking,
of an act of presumption, and appropriates to
himself what does not belong to him.

We have lately observed, with pain, the
intrusion of a Whole Hog of unwieldy dimensions
into the fairy flower garden. The
rooting of the animal among the roses would
in itself have awakened in us nothing but
indignation; our pain arises from his being
violently driven in by a man of genius, our
own beloved friend, MR. GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.
That incomparable artist is, of all men, the
last who should lay his exquisite hand on
fairy text. In his own art he understands it
so perfectly, and illustrates it so beautifully,
so humorously, so wisely, that he should
never lay down his etching needle to "edit"
the Ogre, to whom with that little instrument
he can render such extraordinary
justice. But, to "editing" Ogres, and Hop-o'-my-thumbs,
and their families, our dear
moralist has in a rash moment taken, as a
means of propagating the doctrines of Total
Abstinence, Prohibition of the sale of spirituous
liquors, Free Trade, and Popular Education.
For the introduction of these topics,
he has altered the text of a fairy story; and
against his right to do any such thing we protest
with all our might and main. Of his
likewise altering it to advertise that excellent
series of plates, "The Bottle," we say nothing
more than that we foresee a new and
improved edition of Goody Two Shoes, edited
by E. Moses and Son; of the Dervish with
the box of ointment, edited by Professor
Holloway; and of Jack and the Beanstalk
edited by Mary Wedlake, the popular
authoress of Do you bruise your oats yet.

Now, it makes not the least difference to
our objection whether we agree or disagree
with our worthy friend, Mr. Cruikshank, in
the opinions he interpolates upon an old
fairy story. Whether good or bad in themselves,
they are, in that relation, like the famous
definition of a weed; a thing growing up in
a wrong place. He has no greater moral justification
in altering the harmless little books
than we should have in altering his best
etchings. If such a precedent were followed
we must soon become disgusted with the old
stories into which modern personages so obtruded
themselves, and the stories themselves
must soon be lost. With seven Blue Beards
in the field, each coming at a gallop from his
own platform mounted on a foaming hobby,
a generation or two hence would not know
which was which, and the great original
Blue Beard would be confounded with the
counterfeits. Imagine a Total abstinence
edition of Robinson Crusoe, with the rum
left out. Imagine a Peace edition, with the