This rendering of some of the old Czechoslovak tales is not offered as a literal translation or a scholarly translation. I have retold the stories in a way that I hope will please American children. I have tried hard to keep the flavor of the originals but have taken the liberty of a short cut here and an elaboration there wherever these have seemed to me to make the English version clearer and more interesting.
I have gone to Czech, Slovakian, and Moravian sources. All these stories appear in many versions in the different folklore collections made by such native writers as Erben, Nemcova, Dobsinsky, Rimavsky, Benes-Trebizsky, Kulda. They represent the folk-tale in all stages of its development from the bald narrative of The Bird with the Golden Gizzard which Kulda reports with phonographic exactness, to Nemcova’s more elaborate tale, Prince Bayaya, which is really a mosaic of two or three simpler stories. I have included Katcha and the Devil for the sake of its keen humor, which is particularly Czech in character; The Betrothal Gifts to show how a story common to other countries is made most charmingly local by giving it a local background; The Three Golden Hairs to contrast it with a famous German variant which it seems to me is much inferior to the Slavic version; and several fine stories of the prince gone off on adventures which in common with the folk-tales of all Europe show a strong Oriental influence.
In the transliteration of proper names I have not followed consistently any one method, but for each individual name have made what seemed to be the best selection from the various possible spellings. Until transliteration from the Slavic languages has become standardized this, I am sure, is permissible and even advisable.
In the preparation of this volume I have made heavy draughts upon the scholarship and patience of my Czech friends, Mrs. Jan Matulka and Mr. Vladimir Jelinek. I beg them to accept my thanks. I am also deeply grateful to Mr. A. B. Koukol, who did me the favor of reading the final sheets. Lastly I wish to express my appreciation of the Webster Branch of the New York Public Library, which has gathered together what is probably the most complete collection of Czechoslovak literature in America, and one particularly rich in folklore and children’s books.
Notes: Contains 15 Czechoslovak folktales. The author used Czech, Slovakian and Moravian sources.
Author: Parker Fillmore
Publisher: The Quinn & Boden Company Rahway, N. J.