As he is presented as sensitive enough to be affected permanently by a certain unusual experience, that experience had to be set by me before the reader vividly; but it is not the subject of the tale
. If we go by mere facts then the subject is Falk's attempt to get married; in which the narrator of the tale
finds himself unexpectedly involved both on its ruthless and its delicate side.
"My mother says that all you look at can be turned into a fairy tale: and that you can find a story in everything."
"Yes, if a fairy tale would come of its own accord; but they are proud and haughty, and come only when they choose.
It was with rapidity, evidently with ease, and with masterful certainty, that he poured out his long series of vivid and delightful tales. It is true that in his early, imitative, work he shares the medieval faults of wordiness, digression, and abstract symbolism; and, like most medieval writers, he chose rather to reshape material from the great contemporary store than to invent stories of his own.
It is a commonplace to say that the Prolog to 'The Canterbury Tales' presents in its twenty portraits virtually every contemporary English class except the very lowest, made to live forever in the finest series of character sketches preserved anywhere in literature; and in his other work the same power appears in only less conspicuous degree.
Whereas the lie in words is in certain cases useful and not hateful; in dealing with enemies--that would be an instance; or again, when those whom we call our friends in a fit of madness or illusion are going to do some harm, then it is useful and is a sort of medicine or preventive; also in the tales of mythology, of which we were just now speaking--because we do not know the truth about ancient times, we make falsehood as much like truth as we can, and so turn it to account.
Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of the writers of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of fiction which is good, and reject the bad; and we will desire mothers and nurses to tell their children the authorised ones only.
The author did not make any obstinate opposition, for he began to be of opinion with Dr Wheeler, in Miss Edgeworth's excellent tale of ``Man uvring,'' that ``Trick upon Trick'' might be too much for the patience of an indulgent public, and might be reasonably considered as trifling with their favour.
An incident in the tale, which had the good fortune to find favour in the eyes of many readers, is more directly borrowed from the stores of old romance.
"Merlin, the mighty liar and magician, perdition singe him for the weariness he worketh with his one tale! But that men fear him for that he hath the storms and the lightnings and all the devils that be in hell at his beck and call, they would have dug his en- trails out these many years ago to get at that tale and squelch it.
The old man began his tale; and presently the lad was asleep in reality; so also were the dogs, and the court, the lackeys, and the files of men-at-arms.
Since then, at an uncertain hour, That agony returns; And till my ghastly tale
is told, This heart within me burns.