Myths And Legends For The Little Ones
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
AS the childhood of the race repeats itself in the individual, so the child of six demands again those legends and folk-tales which entertained the world when it was young. "Tell me a story," here as in the nursery, is the echo of a need. It is the cry of a newly-awakened curiosity to be satisfied, the longing of a soul to break from its environment, the recognition of a being of spirit power in the universe. Pity for the child who does not love the fairyland of imagination, destined as Mrs. Wiggin says to become the parent of other imaginative souls.
But there are adults with rich imaginations who feel an aversion to this kind of literature and not without cause. There may be some such among you to-day. For such it may be need-less to say that the period for cultivating fairy-lore fancy has passed. More dignified creations of the imaginative powers attract your mind now; but it may be that there was a period when in your childhood these fancies would have pleased, but you were denied the right selection. .
Myths and legends treat of man and nature in a way that is true to the immature power of thought of the child.
The imagination is in no danger of losing its balance toward truth if the mind be held to close accurate observation and trained to tell with equal accuracy what it has observed ; but the imagination and truth, as they are found in nature, do not comprehend the literary interests of the child. His interest in the personal element makes him always a lover of hero tales—true stories of what other people do. The interest in the personal element extends through all the life of the young.