Old Swedish Fairy Tales, by Anna Whalenberg

So I've been thinking about fairy tales this week, and thought this would be a good time to share a book I have loved since I was old enough to read. Growing up, some of the books I re-read most often were the old fairy tale collections that had belonged to my father when he was a little boy. And my most favorite of these was Old Swedish Fairy Tales, by Anna Whalenberg (translated by Antoinette DeCoursey Patterson, Hampton Publishing Company, 1925).

These are lovely stories. There's castle on an island held up by the hand of a sleeping underwater giant, and magic soap bubbles and water nymphs and good people being rewarded by magic (and less good people getting what they deserve too) and a witch in the woods and a woman who loved a tree (shown at right)...and I read them over and over again.

It truly is a wonderful collection of stories, and it seems to be readily available (on Amazon it starts at $18.28).

Here's a teaser for my favorite story, one that started my love affair with fictional glass-blowing:

Anyone else have a favorite fairy tale collection from their childhood that they still treasure?


  1. Your love affair with fictional glass-blowing? I think you're my long-lost twin. Have you read The Glassblower's Children by Maria Gripe? Speaking of Swedish, too.

    Will think about childhood collections--yours looks lovely; thank you for sharing it.

  2. As a child I loved reading 'Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales', but after reading about your book I think I would've loved yours more.
    Only today a friend and I decided there are two things we would never grow too old to enjoy...things that sparkle and fairy tales.
    Maureen Hume. www.thepizzagang.com

  3. I still have a 1921 edition of Arabian Nights Entertainment my grandma gave me when I was a child (Hampton Publishing Co--"With Four Illustrations in Color"!). Just the other day I ordered a copy of a collection I grew up with, Fifty Famous Fairy Tales (Whitman Library Classics). Happy sigh!

  4. Thanks for the recommendation, Anamaria--I haven't read that yet! What we really need, though, is a book about English orphans at a school for magical glass-blowing...

    I liked my old Grimm Brothers too, Maureen! I remember trying repeatedly, though, to read it straight through, and not making it to the end, so I know the first half much better than the second!

    And I hope Fifty Famous Fairy Tales is as good as you remember it to be, Kate!

  5. I have an old Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales book, too, and a companion volume of Andersen's Fairy Tales with deliciously creepy illustrations by Arthur Szyk. They were both hand-me-downs from my mom, who was given them as a kid. They are awesome.


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