by charles kingsley 

mrs bedonebyasyoudid 

mrs doasyouwouldbedoneby

"i am as old as eternity and as young as time itself"
mrs bedonebyasyoudid

illustrations by jessie willcox smith c. 1916
charcoal, water & oil

by j.m. barrie

illustration by mabel lucie attwell c. 1921

these are the two most wonderful stories i could recommend you read to your children.

peter pan and the lost boys, mermaids and pirates, wendy moira angela darling. flying! fairies! indians! i mean, it’s undeniably enchanting!

try and get a recent publication of the original story written by j.m barrie, it is so much more worth it, i mean walt disney did a good job by it, but the original is…well the original.

the water babies is probably the least known book of the two  and my favorite by miles. it is a story about a boy called tom, a chimney sweep, who never knew his parents and mr grimes, his master was not pleasant man and caused tom many hardships. the fairies save tom by turning him into a water-baby and in this form, dear little tom, learns to be a good boy by doing what he does not want to do. (seem familiar?)

the other enchanting side to this book is that charles kingsley delivers a rather serious critique to the closed-minded approaches of many a scientist of the time and often wanders off, as if in dialogue with the adult, in commentary on political and scientific topics of the day, why should you be bothered? well, it was an exciting time, darwin published the origin of species three years prior to kingsley’s water-babies and all hell broke out in the scientific world! difficult to imagine, i know, for us it is common knowledge that we originated from apes, but back then it turned the world upside down and brought into discussion many topics such as the great hippocampus question, which kingsley satirised as the ‘great hippopotamus test’ in this novel. charles darwin, prof. owen and prof. huxley are all explicitly part of the story.
we have read it three times.
i daresay we shall read it at least three times more.

How do you know that? Have you been there to see? And if you had been there to see, and had seen none, that would not prove that there were none ... And no one has a right to say that no water babies exist till they have seen no water babies existing, which is quite a different thing, mind, from not seeing water babies.
'The Water-Babies, a Fairytale for a Land-Baby'

No comments: