Fairy Tales told in the Bush
Fairy Tales told in the Bush

Fairy Tales told in the Bush

London, Elliot Stock, [1911].

Octavo, viii, 95, [1] (colophon) pages with 13 full-page illustrations and head- and tail-pieces (unsigned, but possibly by the author).

Colour-pictorial red cloth lettered in blue on the front cover, and in gilt on the spine; cloth slightly marked, and a little rubbed and bumped at the extremities; spine a little sunned, with light wear to the ends; endpapers offset; front inner hinge a little tender; name erased from the title page (it was 'Sister Agnes', written in ink - we hope it wasn't her signature); minimal signs of use; a very good copy.

Agnes Row (1866-1930), a deaconess in the Community of the Holy Name, the first Anglican religious community in Australia, is identified and discussed, along with her book, at great length in a very informative article by Lucy Sussex in the 'Griffith Review' (Edition 42, October 2013: 'Told in the Bush'). One of the six tales, 'The Origin of the Yarra Yarra' was 'told to the writer by old King Barak, the last King of the Yarra tribe, a few days before his death' in 1903 (preface). Another one, 'The Magic Gun', was reprinted in 'The Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian' on 12 January 1912, with the following heading and introduction: 'Another Coranderrk Legend. Sister Agnes' charming children's book, "Fairy Tales told in the Bush", contains another interesting local legend of aboriginal origin'. The first couple of paragraphs set the scene: 'It was September, the wattle blossom month, and many people were in and around Healesville, where the wattle is to be seen at its best. Old King Barak, the last King of the Yarra tribe, sat outside his hut at Coranderrk, surrounded by white people. "You all too greedy," he grumbled, "you come to see black man, black man make native fire, black man throw boomerang, black man throw spear; white man give him black brother pennies, pah, white man greedy, no give black man baccy, only pennies." A few of the white people gave the dirty old chief a silver coin, then they went off to another hut to buy native baskets, and to see the funny black babies'. This book is rare in our experience, and it would appear that recognition of its strong connection with William Barak (1824-1903) is even rarer. Muir 6761 (not identifying the author).

Item #111987


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