Told to the Children

Editor: Louey Chisholm
Publisher: E.C. & T.C. Jack, London
Dates: 1905–1910
Authors: H.E. Marshall, Mary Macgregor, John Lang, Jeanie Lang,
Amy Steedman, J.H. Kelman, Louey Chisholm, Lena Dalkeith,
C.E. Smith, Ethel Lindsay

The Told to the Children Series is an excellent series that was produced by E.C. and T.C. Jack in Great Britain during early 1900's. The object of this series was to take well known classics from both the western canon and 19th century English literature, and retell the stories in a simple manner for children age 9-12. The books themselves are very small, well written, and beautifully illustrated. An upper elementary age child might be able to read an entire book in less than two hours, and even younger children can get through a book in a few sittings. A great deal of the complexity of the original is left out, but in most cases the author focuses on telling a few stories well rather than trying to cover every aspect of the original at a superficial level. The series involves over 30 books by a number of authors but we have not attempted to republish the whole series. The books we have published represent most of the best of the series, and focus mainly on legendary classics rather than those by 19th century British authors.

Stories of King Arthur's Knights Told to the Children   by Mary Macgregor   37 credits
This book tell six stories from the legends of King Arthur and his knights. Most, however, involve the adventures of knights of the round table, are less well-known than the stories of Arthur himself. Four of the stories are love stories between knights and their fair ladies: Geraint and Enid, Lancelot and Elaine, Pelleas and Ettarde, and Gareth and Lynette. The final two stories involve the great heroes, Sir Galahad and King Arthur.

Stories from the Ballads Told to the Children   by Mary Macgregor   37 credits
This collection of fairy tales from Scotland were derived from the ancient Gaelic ballads. They include stories such as Tamlane, Lizzie Lindsay, Hynde Etin, Hynde Hund, and others.

Stories from Dante Told to the Children   by Mary Macgregor   43 credits
This simplified rendition of Dante's Inferno tells the story of the authors adventures in the underworld, and how he came to write the 'Inferno', one of the greatest epic poems in Western Civilization. The story recounts his journey with his guide Virgil, through the nine levels of hell, and finally through purgatory. Some familiarity with Greek mythology, and Renaissance Italy is helpful in understanding these tales, but they are recounted simply and beautifully.

Stories of Siegfried Told to the Children   by Mary Macgregor   41 credits
Siegfried is the central character in this legend, skillfully adapted from the Nibelung, an old German poem, full of strange adventures of tiny dwarves and stalwart mortals. In this retelling of the ancient legend, Siegfried wins the accursed Rhineland treasure, takes Kriemhild as bride, and comes to an untimely end, passing the curse of the Rheingold on to his enemies.

Stories from Pilgrim's Progress Told to the Children   by Mary Macgregor   38 credits
This version of Bunyan's Classic Christian allegory is adapted for young children and is very effective as a short but entertaining morality tale. It tells the story of a Christian pilgrim on his journey along the 'straight and narrow' road. Along the route he encounters such characters as 'Obstinate', 'Pliable', 'Hopeful', and 'Goodwill', and passes the 'Slough of Despond' and 'Vanity Fair'. His is briefly imprisoned at 'Doubting Castle', the domicile of 'Giant Despair' before escaping and continuing on his journey to the 'celestial city.'

Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children   by H. E. Marshall   32 credits
This volume retells the famous Anglo-Saxon saga in the manner of a folktale, with the heroic qualities emphasized. It relates how Beowulf, the hero of the Saxons, came to Daneland and how he overcame the ogre Grendel and the water witch. It closes with the story of how the fire dragon warred with the Goth folk and how Beowulf fought his last fight.

Stories of Robin Hood Told to the Children   by H. E. Marshall   40 credits
This lively retelling of the Stories of Robin Hood chronicles the events of the time in which Robin Hood lived, while the heroic Richard the Lion-hearted was absent from England and the kingdom was under the rule of his devious brother. The story recounts how and why he came to live in the Greenwood, and the adventures he had there with Little John, Maid Marian, and the Sheriff of Nottingham in a manner attractive to youngsters.

Stories of Roland Told to the Children   by H. E. Marshall   36 credits
This attractively illustrated book tells ten stories from the Song of Roland, one of the most illustrious knights of Romance. The famous hero was a nephew of Charlemagne and the most valorous Peer of France. Stories are told relating how Roland and Oliver fought and died at the battle of Roncesvalles, of Charlemagne's vengeance on Marsil the Saracen and of the punishment of the traitor Ganelon.

Stories of William Tell Told to the Children   by H. E. Marshall   33 credits
This children's biography of William Tell treats the historical as well as the legendary aspects of the Great Swiss hero. It describes the oppressions of the forest Cantons at the hands of their imperial overlords and how the Swiss fought to gain their independence. The Story of William Tell is told in the context of the great patriot's heroic resistance to Gessler, the brutal governor of Albrecht, Duke of Austria.

Uncle Tom's Cabin Told to the Children   by H. E. Marshall   48 credits
This short retelling of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin tells the life stories of a number of slaves and slave-owners in the south, and shows the detrimental effects of servitude on both master and slave. It follows the original story faithfully and does an excellent job of depicting complex character development in a brief space.

Stories of Guy of Warwick Told to the Children   by H. E. Marshall   35 credits
This story tells of the wondrous deeds of Guy of Warwick, a gallant knight of old who falls in love with a noble lady and must prove his valor with deeds of chivalry. Most of the stories of this illustrious knights of old England are legendary, and feature monsters, giants and lions and well as villains of every stripe.

Stories from Wagner Told to the Children   by C. E. Smith   37 credits
The story of three of Wagner's most famous operas are beautifully retold in a simple and romantic fashion that is accessible even to grammar school age children. There are three stories altogether. Lohengrin is about a sorceress who casts a spell on a prince of Belgium in the days of Henry the Fowler. The Mastersingers of Nuremberg is a romance about a singer who wins the heart of a Nuremberg maiden, and the Flying Dutchman is about a merchant under the spell of the seas.

Stories from the Old Testament Told to the Children   by Louey Chisholm   36 credits
This collection of Bible stories, which focus on the early patriarchs and are taken mostly from Genesis and Exodus. The book is part of the Told to the Children series and is relatively short, so that it confines itself to some of the most famous stories of the Old Testament, including those of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. The stories are engagingly told and beautifully illustrated.

Celtic Tales Told to the Children   by Louey Chisholm   38 credits
Three traditional Celtic fairy tales beautifully retold. One story is about four children who are turned into swans by their evil stepmother. The other two are stories of ill-fated lovers.

Stories from the Life of Christ Told to the Children   by Janet Kelman   44 credits
These thirty short stories from the New Testament cover the gospels from the birth of Christ to the Ascension. They are beautifully illustrated and written in an appealing manner for grammar school children. Stories from the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus are told along with a dozen parables.

Stories from the Iliad Told to the Children   by Jeanie Lang   39 credits
This version of Homer's Iliad is part of the Told to the Children series. It is greatly condensed, beautifully illustrated, and recounted in a suitable manner for younger children. The story of The Iliad, begins with the legend of the goddesses and the golden apple, and ends with the death of Hector, but does not include the fall of Troy. A good first introduction to Homer for young grammar school students.

Stories from the Odyssey Told to the Children   by Jeanie Lang   39 credits
This short version of Homer's Odyssey is part of the Told to the Children series. It is significantly shorted, nicely illustrated, and told in a manner that is suitable for young children. The adventures of Odysseus, a Greek soldier returning from the Trojan war, begin in the land of the Lotus Eater, and continue with his encounters with Cyclopes, Circe, the Sirens, and Calypso before he returns home to Ithaca, where his faithful wife Penelope awaits him.

Stories from the Faerie Queen Told to the Children   by Jeanie Lang   42 credits
The Faerie Queen is one of the best known epic poems in the English language. Written during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it is allegorical in nature, but from a child's point of view is merely an exceptionally romantic collection of fairy stories and a very appropriate choice for a simplified adaptation. Queen Elizabeth is represented by the Faerie Queen, who rules over Fairy land (England). The stories of the brave knights and beautiful maidens that inhabit Fairly land are cleverly interlinked and often told from the viewpoints of various heroes.

Stories of Gulliver's Travels Told to the Children   by John Lang   36 credits
This accessible and humorous retelling of Swift's classic Gulliver's Travels recounts the story of two of Gulliver's most famous voyages. In Lilliput, Gulliver is captured by midgets but he eventually wins their trust by helping them fight their enemies from the Island Blefuscu. He then travels to Brobdingnag, the land of the giants where he is kept as a pet by the king. Most of the political allusions from the original are above the heads of young students, but the story itself is highly entertaining.

Robinson Crusoe Told to the Children   by John Lang   37 credits
The Story of Robinson Crusoe was one of the first widely read novels in the English language, and it follows the adventures of an Englishman stranded on a remote Island in the Caribbean for almost thirty years. The original book is philosophical as well as an adventure story, but the underlying story is of utmost interest, especially to imaginative boys. This rendition is a very well done simplification suitable for grammar school age students.

Stories from Chaucer Told to the Children   by Janet Kelman   35 credits
This book retells several famous stories from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in a manner appealing to young children. Most of the selections, including the Franklin's Tale, the Knight's Tale, The Clerk's Tale, and the Lawyer's Tale are romantic love stories, suitable for novice readers.