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If you’re a fan of good triumphing over evil, of love conquering all and happily afters then you will love this charming little book written by the Comtesse de Ségur and illustrated by Virginia Sterrett called Old French Fairy Tales. It was published in 1920 and is now part of public domain. In it are five timeless fairy tales and eight breathtaking full page color illustrations dotted with smaller (but no less dramatic) black and white drawings for children of all ages – or even just children at heart.

Old French Fairy Tales begins with the story of Blondine, Bonne-Biche, and Beau-Minon. Blondine is the perfect, charming, sweet-tempered little princess who inspired envy in her evil stepmother and stepsister. She meets Bonne-Biche, a cat, and his mother Beau Minon in a dangerous enchanted forest. In their hands lie her fate.

Good Little Henry tells the story of a young boy and how he resolved to climb a treacherous mountain to save his dying mother. With the aid of a fairy, he tried to overcome many obstacles to obtain a precious plant which has the power to cure his dear mother.

Princess Rosette is scorned by her mean parents and nasty sisters ever since she was born. A kind and powerful fairy godmother is her only protector against the fury and jealousy of her spiteful family.
Picture 1

The Little Gray Mouse narrates Rosalie’s insatiable curiosity. A vengeful evil fairy cursed her with this affliction and would make her a slave if she does not overcome it at the age of 15. Terrible things happen to those Rosalie loves most as she succumbs to the challenges of the evil fairy.The last story is about Ourson, who was born with the ugly hide of a bear and will not be free of this curse unless someone feels gratitude enough to willingly bear the curse.

I highly recommend this book for those who are into the genre – it’s certainly a good read. The Comtesse de Ségur kept true to to the fairy tale tradition, but added a good dose of common sense in each of her characters. Sterett’s work is remarkably detailed and well-executed. Aside from this book, she has done the illustration for Nathaniel Hawthorn’s Tanglewood Tales (1921) and her most famous, Arabian Nights (1928).

Picture 4

You can find more download formats on the book’s homepage on Arichive.org.

Related Links:
Old French Fairy Tales on Archive.org
Bio of Comtesse de Ségur
Bio of Virginia Sterett