Andrew Lang’s Original Rainbow Fairy Books

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Andrew Lang's Fairy Books - Original Editions

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About Andrew Lang's Fairy Books

andrew lang first edition covers
Vintage Andrew Lang's Rainbow Fairy Books
What’s so special about the Fairy Books?

The first editions of Andrew Lang’s Rainbow Fairy Books series have the most gorgeous covers and spines, which likely contributed to their enormous popularity on release. The series is also known as Andrew Lang’s “Coloured” Fairy Books or Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books of Many Colors. The illustrated bibliography of his books below includes photos of the covers of the first editions, which are courtesy of The Lilly Library at Indiana University, Bloomington, and lists the stories included in each volumes. Many of the stories made their first appearance in English via this series of fairy tales.

Who wrote the stories in the Fairy Books?

Andrew Lang (1844-1912) was a Scots writer known by his contemporaries primarily as a historian, literary critic, and translator (he released “new versions” of the Arabian Nights and of the Iliad and the Odyssey). He wrote numerous literary analyses of mythology and folklore, including Custom and Myth; Myth, Ritual and Religion; and Making of Religion.

Although authorship and translation of the books is usually attributed to Andrew alone, his wife Leonora “Nora” Blanche Alleyne was largely responsible for the selecting and translating the stories, as acknowledged by Andrew in his preface to The Lilac Fairy Book (1910), where he notes “The fairy books have been almost wholly the work of Mrs. Lang, who has translated and adapted them from the French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, and other languages.” In later books, she is credited for many of the retellings as “Mrs Lang”. The Langs did not collect original tales from oral sources, rather they rewrote stories that had been collected in other languages (such as Grimm’s tales or those by Madame D’Aulnoy), and for many tales these collections were their first appearance in English.

Who illustrated the stories?

The 12 books in the series were originally illustrated by Henry Justice Ford, with credit for the first two volumes shared by G. P. Jacomb-Hood who contributed to the first The Blue Fairy Book, and Lancelot Speed who contributed to the second The Red Fairy Book. An additional title released later called The Rose Fairy Book contained a selection of French, Portuguese, Sicilian, Spanish stories that were originally published in the Grey, Brown, Pink, Lilac and Orange Fairy Books.

Other illustrators have decorated later editions of course, and one illustrated series that I highly recommend is the gorgeous Folio Society editions, head over here.

How many books in the series?

The classic rainbow fairy series includes the 12 volumes explored below. However, the Langs also published a number of ‘true story’ and poetry books in addition to their fairy tale collections in similar bindings, leading to a total of 25 books for children that were written by the Langs and released by their publisher Longmans & Co in uniform bindings throughout the same period (between 1889 and 1913). Visit this page on Lang’s Story Books for more information on these “other” lesser-known books in the series.

Shelf Appeal

Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books
A set of first editions of Andrew Lang's Rainbow Fairy Book series
lang's full childrens books collection
A collection of the Rainbow Fairy Books shelved with the Lang's Story Book collection

Complete list of Andrew Lang's Fairy Books

Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy BooksThe Blue Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by HJ Ford and GP Jacomb-Hood1889: LongmansIncludes: The Bronze Ring; Prince Hyacinth and the Dear Little Princess; East of the Sun and West of the Moon; The Yellow Dwarf; Little Red Riding Hood; The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood; Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper; Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp; The Tale of a Youth Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was; Rumpelstiltskin; Beauty and the Beast; The Master Maid; Why the Sea Is Salt; The Master Cat or Puss in Boots; Felicia and the Pot of Pinks; The White Cat; The Water-lily/The Gold-spinners; The Terrible Head; The Story of Pretty Goldilocks; The History of Whittington; The Wonderful Sheep; Little Thumb; The Forty Thieves; Hansel and Gretel; Snow-White and Rose-Red; The Goose-girl; Toads and Diamonds; Prince Darling; Blue Beard; Trusty John; The Brave Little Tailor; A Voyage to Lilliput; The Princess on the Glass Hill; The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou; The History of Jack the Giant-killer; The Black Bull of Norroway; The Red Etin.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books The Red Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by HJ Ford and Lancelot Speed1890: LongmansIncludes: The Twelve Dancing Princesses; The Princess Mayblossom; Soria Moria Castle; The Death of Koschei the Deathless; The Black Thief and Knight of the Glen; The Master Thief; Brother and Sister; Princess Rosette; The Enchanted Pig; The Norka; The Wonderful Birch; Jack and the Beanstalk; The Little Good Mouse; Graciosa and Percinet; The Three Princesses of Whiteland; The Voice of Death; The Six Sillies; Kari Woodengown; Drakestail; The Ratcatcher; The True History of Little Goldenhood; The Golden Branch; The Three Dwarfs; Dapplegrim; The Enchanted Canary; The Twelve Brothers; Rapunzel; The Nettle Spinner; Farmer Weatherbeard; Mother Holle; Minnikin; Bushy Bride; Snowdrop; The Golden Goose; The Seven Foals; The Marvellous Musician; The Story of Sigurd.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books The Green Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1892: LongmansIncludes: The Blue Bird; The Half-Chick; The Story of Caliph Stork; The Enchanted Watch; Rosanella; Sylvain and Jocosa; Fairy Gifts; Prince Narcissus and the Princess Potentilla; Prince Featherhead and the Princess Celandine; The Three Little Pigs; Heart of Ice; The Enchanted Ring; The Snuff-box; The Golden Blackbird; The Little Soldier; The Magic Swan; The Dirty Shepherdess; The Enchanted Snake; The Biter Bit; King Kojata; Prince Fickle and Fair Helena; Puddocky; The Story of Hok Lee and the Dwarfs; The Story of the Three Bears; Prince Vivien and the Princess Placida; Little One-eye, Little Two-eyes, and Little Three-eyes; Jorinde and Joringel; Allerleirauh (or, the Many-furred Creature); The Twelve Huntsmen; Spindle, Shuttle, and Needle; The Crystal Coffin; The Three Snake-leaves; The Riddle; Jack my Hedgehog; The Golden Lads; The White Snake; The Story of a Clever Tailor; The Golden Mermaid; The War of the Wolf and the Fox; The Story of the Fisherman and his Wife; The Three Musicians; The Three Dogs.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books The Yellow Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1894: LongmansIncludes: The Cat and the Mouse in Partnership; The Six Swans; The Dragon of the North; Story of the Emperor’s New Clothes; The Golden Crab; The Iron Stove; The Dragon and his Grandmother; The Donkey Cabbage; The Little Green Frog; The Seven-headed Serpent; The Grateful Beasts; The Giants and the Herd-boy; The Invisible Prince; The Crow; How Six Men Travelled Through the Wide World; The Wizard King; The Nixy; The Glass Mountain; Alphege, or the Green Monkey; Fairer-than-a-Fairy; The Three Brothers; The Boy and the Wolves, or the Broken Promise; The Glass Axe; The Dead Wife; In the Land of Souls; The White Duck; The Witch and Her Servants; The Magic Ring; The Flower Queen’s Daughter; The Flying Ship; The Snow-daughter and the Fire-son; The Story of King Frost; The Death of the Sun-hero; The Witch; The Hazel-nut Child; The Story of Big Klaus and Little Klaus; Prince Ring; The Swineherd; How to tell a True Princess; The Blue Mountains; The Tinder-box; The Witch in the Stone Boat; Thumbelina; The Nightingale; Hermod and Hadvor; The Steadfast Tin-soldier; Blockhead Hans; A Story about a Darning-needle.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy BooksThe Pink Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1897: LongmansIncludes: The Cat’s Elopement; How the Dragon was Tricked; The Goblin and the Grocer; The House in the Wood; Uraschimataro and the Turtle; The Slaying of the Tanuki; The Flying Trunk; The Snow Man; The Shirt-Collar; The Princess in the Chest; The Three Brothers; The Snow-queen; The Fir-Tree; Hans, the Mermaid’s Son; Peter Bull; The Bird ‘Grip’; Snowflake; I know what I have learned; The Cunning Shoemaker; The King who would have a Beautiful Wife; Catherine and her Destiny; How the Hermit helped to win the King’s Daughter; The Water of Life; The Wounded Lion; The Man without a Heart; The Two Brothers; Master and Pupil; The Golden Lion; The Sprig of Rosemary; The White Dove; The Troll’s Daughter; Esben and the Witch; Princess Minon-Minette; Maiden Bright-eye; The Merry Wives; King Lindworm; The Jackal, the Dove, and the Panther; The Little Hare; The Sparrow with the Slit Tongue; The Story of Ciccu; Don Giovanni de la Fortuna.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy BooksThe Grey Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1900: LongmansIncludes: Donkey Skin; The Goblin Pony; An Impossible Enchantment; The Story of Dschemil and Dachemila; Janni and the Draken; The Partnership of the Thief and the Liar; Fortunatus and his Purse; The Goat-faced Girl; What came of picking Flowers; The Story of Bensurdatu; The Magician’s Horse; The Little Gray Man; Herr Lazarus and the Draken; The Story of the Queen of the Flowery Isles; Udea and her Seven Brothers; The White Wolf; Mohammed with the Magic Finger; Bobino; The Dog and the Sparrow; The Story of the Three Sons of Hali; The Story of the Fair Circassians; The Jackal and the Spring; The Bear; The Sunchild; The Daughter of Buk Ettemsuch; Laughing Eye and Weeping Eye, or the Limping Fox; The Unlooked for Prince; The Simpleton; The Street Musicians; The Twin Brothers; Cannetella; The Ogre; A Fairy’s Blunder; Long, Broad, and Quickeye; Prunella.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books The Violet Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1901: LongmansIncludes: A Tale Of the Tontlawald; The Finest Liar in the World; The Story of Three Wonderful Beggars; Schippeitaro; The Three Princes and their Beasts; The Goat’s Ears of the Emperor Trojan; The Nine Pea-hens and the Golden Apples; The Lute Player; The Grateful Prince; The Child who came from an Egg; Stan Bolovan; The Two Frogs; The Story of a Gazelle; How a Fish swam in the Air and a Hare in the Water; Two in a Sack; The Envious Neighbour; The Fairy of the Dawn; The Enchanted Knife; Jesper Who Herded the Hares; The Underground Workers; The History of Dwarf Long Nose; The Nunda, Eater of People; The Story of Hassebu; The Maiden with the Wooden Helmet; The Monkey and the Jelly-fish; The Headless Dwarfs; The Young Man Who Would Have His Eyes Opened; The Boys with the Golden Stars; The Frog; The Princess Who Was Hidden Underground; The Girl Who Pretended to be a Boy; The Story of Halfman; The Prince Who Wanted to See the World; Virgilius the Sorcerer; Mogarzea and his Son.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books The Crimson Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1903: LongmansIncludes: Lovely Ilonka; Lucky Luck; The Hairy Man; To Your Good Health!; The Story of the Seven Simons; The Language of Beasts; The Boy Who Could Keep a Secret; The Prince and the Dragon; Little Wildrose; Tiidu the Piper; Paperarello; The Gifts of the Magician; The Strong Prince; The Treasure Seeker; The Cottager and his Cat; The Prince Who Would Seek Immortality; The Stone-cutter; The Gold-bearded Man; Tritill, Litill, and the Birds; The Three Robes; The Six Hungry Beasts; How the Beggar Boy turned into Count Piro; The Rogue and the Herdsman; Eisenkopf; The Death of Abu Nowas and of his Wife; Motikatika; Niels and the Giants; Shepherd Paul; How the Wicked Tanuki was Punished; The Crab and the Monkey; The Horse Gullfaxi and the Sword Gunnfoder; The Story of the Sham Prince, or the Ambitious Tailor; The Colony of Cats; How to find out a True Friend; Clever Maria; The Magic Kettle.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books The Brown Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1904: LongmansIncludes: What the Rose did to the Cypress; Ball-Carrier and the Bad One; How Ball-Carrier finished his Task; The Bunyip; Father Grumbler; The Story of the Yara; The Cunning Hare; The Turtle and his Bride; How Geirald the Coward was Punished; Habogi; How the Little Brother set Free his Big Brothers; The Sacred Milk of Koumongoé; The Wicked Wolverine; The Husband of the Rat’s Daughter; The Mermaid and the Boy; Pivi and Kabo; The Elf Maiden; How Some Wild Animals became Tame Ones; Fortune and the Wood-Cutter; The Enchanted Head; The Sister of the Sun; The Prince and the Three Fates; The Fox and the Lapp; Kisa the Cat; The Lion and the Cat; Which was the Foolishest?; Asmund and Signy; Rubezahl; Story of the King who would be Stronger than Fate; Story of Wali Dad the Simple-hearted; Tale of a Tortoise and of a Mischievous Monkey; The Knights of the Fish.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books The Orange Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1906: LongmansIncludes The Story of the Hero Makoma; The Magic Mirror; Story of the King who would see Paradise; How Isuro the Rabbit tricked Gudu; Ian, the Soldier’s Son; The Fox and the Wolf; How Ian Direach got the Blue Falcon; The Ugly Duckling; The Two Caskets; The Goldsmith’s Fortune; The Enchanted Wreath; The Foolish Weaver; The Clever Cat; The Story of Manus Pinkel the Thief; The Adventures of a Jackal; The Adventures of the Jackal’s Eldest Son; The Adventures of the Younger Son of the Jackal; The Three Treasures of the Giants; The Rover of the Plain; The White Doe; The Girl-Fish; The Owl and the Eagle; The Frog and the Lion Fairy; The Adventures of Covan the Brown-haired; The Princess Bella-Flor; The Bird of Truth; The Mink and the Wolf; Adventures of an Indian Brave; How the Stalos were Tricked; Andras Baive; The White Slipper; The Magic Book.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books The Olive Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1907: LongmansIncludes: Madschun; The Blue Parrot; Geirlug The King’s Daughter; The Story of Little King Loc; A Long-Bow Story; Jackal or Tiger?; The Comb and the Collar; The Thanksgiving of the Wazir; Samba the Coward; Kupti and Imani; The Strange Adventures of Little Maia; Diamond Cut Diamond; The Green Knight; The Five Wise Words of the Guru; The Golden-Headed Fish; Dorani; The Satin Surgeon; The Billy Goat and the King; The Story of Zoulvisia; Grasp All, Lose All; The Fate of the Turtle; The Snake Prince; The Prince and the Princess in the Forest; The Clever Weaver; The Boy Who Found Fear At Last; He Wins Who Waits; The Steel Cane; The Punishment of the Fairy Gangana; The Silent Princess.
Andrew Lang's Original Rainbow Fairy Books The Lilac Fairy Book

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Andrew Lang, illustrated by Henry Justice Ford1910: LongmansIncludes: The Shifty Lad; The False Prince and the True; The Jogi’s Punishment; The Heart of a Monkey; The Fairy Nurse; A Lost Paradise; How Brave Walter Hunted Wolves; The King of the Waterfalls; A French Puck; The Three Crowns; The Story of a Very Bad Boy; The Brown Bear of Norway; Little Lasse; ‘Moti’; The Enchanted Deer; A Fish Story; The Wonderful Tune; The Rich Brother and the Poor Brother; The One-Handed Girl; The Bones of Djulung; The Sea King’s Gift; The Raspberry Worm; The Stones of Plouhinec; The Castle of Kerglas; The Battle of the Birds; The Lady of the Fountain; The Four Gifts; The Groac’h of the Isle of Lok; The Escape of the Mouse; The Believing Husbands; The Hoodie-Crow; The Brownie of the Lake; The Winning of Olwen.

Beautiful Books