“A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

“A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys” is a book written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and first published in 1851. It is a collection of retellings of Greek myths intended for young readers. The book features a frame narrative in which a young storyteller named Eustace Bright recounts these myths to a group of children gathered around him.

In “A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys,” Hawthorne adapts several well-known Greek myths and presents them in a style that is accessible and engaging for children. He adds his own imaginative touches and narrative flourishes to breathe new life into these ancient tales.

The stories included in “A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys” are:

  1. The Gorgon’s Head”: The story of Perseus and his quest to slay the fearsome Gorgon Medusa.
  2. The Golden Touch”: The tale of King Midas and his wish to turn everything he touches into gold.
  3. “The Paradise of Children“: A retelling of the story of Pandora and the opening of the box that released all the troubles into the world.
  4. The Three Golden Apples“: The myth of Hercules and his quest to retrieve the golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides.
  5. “The Miraculous Pitcher“: The story of Baucis and Philemon, an elderly couple who show great hospitality to disguised gods and are rewarded for their kindness.

Through these retellings, Hawthorne not only introduces young readers to Greek mythology but also imparts moral lessons and explores themes such as the consequences of greed, the importance of kindness, and the power of hospitality.

“A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys” is characterized by Hawthorne’s storytelling prowess, vivid descriptions, and the moral undercurrents that run through the narratives. The book has been celebrated for its ability to captivate young readers and ignite their imagination while instilling valuable lessons about character and conduct.

Overall, “A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys” stands as a classic work of children’s literature that brings the enchanting world of Greek mythology to life in a way that is both entertaining and educational.

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