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A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys facts for kids

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Wonder-Book, 1880
Eustace Bright telling the stories to several children, the frontispiece illustration of an 1880 edition

A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys (1851) is a children's book by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne in which he retells several Greek myths. It was followed by a sequel, Tanglewood Tales.

Overview

The stories in A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys are all stories within a story, the frame story being that a Williams College student, Eustace Bright, is telling these tales to a group of children at Tanglewood, an area in Lenox, Massachusetts, where Hawthorne lived for a time. All the tales are modified from the original myths.

Midas gold2
"Midas' Daughter Turned to Gold" by Walter Crane, illustrating the Midas myth for an 1893 edition

A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys covers the myths of

  • The Gorgon's Head - recounts the story of Perseus killing Medusa at the request of the king of the island, Polydectes.
  • The Golden Touch - recounts the story of King Midas and his "Golden Touch".
  • The Paradise of Children - recounts the story of Pandora opening the box filled with all of mankind's Troubles.
  • The Three Golden Apples - recounts the story of Heracles procuring the Three Golden Apples from the Hesperides' orchard, with the help of Atlas.
  • The Miraculous Pitcher - recounts the story of Baucis and Philemon providing food and shelter to two strangers who were Zeus and "Quicksilver" (Hermes) in disguise. Baucis and Philemon were rewarded by the gods for their kindness; they were promised never to live apart from one another.
  • The Chimæra - recounts the story of Bellerophon taming Pegasus and killing the Chimæra.
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