London, David Nutt, 1896 [first edition].
Octavo, xvi, 132, 12 (illustrated publisher's catalogue) pages with 12 'illustrations by a native artist [now known to be Tommy McRae], and a specimen of the native text'.
Attractive dark green-pictorial light green cloth, all edges uncut; rear cover a little marked and lightly scored, with bumped corners; spine lightly sunned; vertical crease to the last four leaves (including the flyleaf), with a tiny jagged tear to the last two leaves; careless opening of the uncut leading edge of the last two advertising leaves has resulted in very short tears and minor chips to their leading margins; minimal light foxing; a very good copy.
Andrew Lang, an anthropologist with a special interest in folk tales, correctly notes in his four-page introduction that 'till Mrs Langloh Parker wrote this book, we had but few of the stories which Australian natives tell'. The illustrations, 'from the sketch-book of an untaught Australian native ... were given to me some years ago by my brother, Dr. Lang, of Corowa.... Probably no other member of his dying race ever illustrated a book.' It is surprising to learn that he was not familiar with George Taplin's important work, 'The Folklore, Manners, Customs, and Languages of the South Australian Aborigines', published in 1879. It features the artwork of an Indigenous woman, Yertabrida Solomon, among others. Muir 5709. The armorial bookplate of one F.C. Rowan is mounted on the front pastedown. The husband of Marian Ellis Rowan (1848-1922), artist, naturalist and explorer, was Frederic Charles Rowan. We presumed initially this was his bookplate and his book; it may well be his bookplate, but he died in 1892 four years before the book was published.