American Fairy Tales - L. Frank Baum - darmowy ebook
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American Fairy Tales is the title of a collection of twelve fantasy stories by L. Frank Baum, published in 1901 by the George M. Hill Company, the firm that issued The Wonderful Wizard of Oz the previous year. The twelve stories were published in this order in the first edition."The Box of Robbers." "The Glass Dog." "The Queen of Quok." "The Girl Who Owned a Bear." "The Enchanted Types." "The Laughing Hippopotamus." "The Magic Bon Bons." "The Capture of Father Time." "The Wonderful Pump." "The Dummy That Lived." "The King of the Polar Bears." "The Mandarin and the Butterfly." The stories, as critics have noted, lack the high-fantasy aspect of the best of Baum's work, in Oz or out. With ironic or nonsensical morals attached to their ends, their tone is more satirical, glib, and tongue-in-cheek than is usual in children's stories; the serialization in newspapers for adult readers was appropriate for the materials. "The Magic Bon Bons" was the most popular of the tales, judging by number of reprints.Two of the stories, "The Enchanted Types" and "The Dummy That Lived," employ knooks and ryls, the fairies that Baum would use in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus the next year, 1902. "The Dummy That Lived" depends upon the idea of a department-store mannequin brought to life, an early expression of an idea that would be re-used by many later writers in television and films.

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AMERICAN FAIRY TALES

BY

L. FRANK BAUM

Copyright © 2017 by L. Frank Baum.

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations em- bodied in critical articles or reviews.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organiza- tions, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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Book and Cover design by Sheba Blake Publishing

First Edition: January 2017

TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE BOX OF ROBBERS

THE GLASS DOG

THE QUEEN OF QUOK

THE GIRL WHO OWNED A BEAR

THE ENCHANTED TYPES

THE LAUGHING HIPPOPOTAMUS

THE MAGIC BON BONS

THE CAPTURE OF FATHER TIME

THE WONDERFUL PUMP

THE DUMMY THAT LIVED

THE KING OF THE POLAR BEARS

THE MANDARIN AND THE BUTTERFLY

THE BOX OF ROBBERS

No one intended to leave Martha alone that afternoon, but it happened that everyone was called away, for one reason or another. Mrs. McFarland was attending the weekly card party held by the Women's Anti-Gambling League. Sister Nell's young man had called quite unexpectedly to take her for a long drive. Papa was at the office, as usual. It was Mary Ann's day out. As for Emeline, she certainly should have stayed in the house and looked after the little girl; but Emeline had a restless nature.

"Would you mind, miss, if I just crossed the alley to speak a word to Mrs. Carleton's girl?" she asked Martha.

"'Course not," replied the child. "You'd better lock the back door, though, and take the key, for I shall be upstairs."

"Oh, I'll do that, of course, miss," said the delighted maid, and ran away to spend the afternoon with her friend, leaving Martha quite alone in the big house, and locked in, into the bargain.

The little girl read a few pages in her new book, sewed a few stitches in her embroidery and started to "play visiting" with her four favorite dolls. Then she remembered that in the attic was a doll's playhouse that hadn't been used for months, so she decided she would dust it and put it in order.

Filled with this idea, the girl climbed the winding stairs to the big room under the roof. It was well lighted by three dormer windows and was warm and pleasant. Around the walls were rows of boxes and trunks, piles of old carpeting, pieces of damaged furniture, bundles of discarded clothing and other odds and ends of more or less value. Every well-regulated house has an attic of this sort, so I need not describe it.

The doll's house had been moved, but after a search Martha found it away over in a corner near the big chimney.

She drew it out and noticed that behind it was a black wooden chest which Uncle Walter had sent over from Italy years and years ago--before Martha was born, in fact. Mamma had told her about it one day; how there was no key to it, because Uncle Walter wished it to remain unopened until he returned home; and how this wandering uncle, who was a mighty hunter, had gone into Africa to hunt elephants and had never been heard from afterwards.

The little girl looked at the chest curiously, now that it had by accident attracted her attention.

It was quite big--bigger even than mamma's traveling trunk--and was studded all over with tarnished brassheaded nails. It was heavy, too, for when Martha tried to lift one end of it she found she could not stir it a bit. But there was a place in the side of the cover for a key. She stooped to examine the lock, and saw that it would take a rather big key to open it.

Then, as you may suspect, the little girl longed to open Uncle Walter's big box and see what was in it. For we are all curious, and little girls are just as curious as the rest of us.

"I don't b'lieve Uncle Walter'll ever come back," she thought. "Papa said once that some elephant must have killed him. If I only had a key--" She stopped and clapped her little hands together gayly as she remembered a big basket of keys on the shelf in the linen closet. They were of all sorts and sizes; perhaps one of them would unlock the mysterious chest!

She flew down the stairs, found the basket and returned with it to the attic. Then she sat down before the brass-studded box and began trying one key after another in the curious old lock. Some were too large, but most were too small. One would go into the lock but would not turn; another stuck so fast that she feared for a time that she would never get it out again. But at last, when the basket was almost empty, an oddly-shaped, ancient brass key slipped easily into the lock. With a cry of joy Martha turned the key with both hands; then she heard a sharp "click," and the next moment the heavy lid flew up of its own accord!