By Chris Colfer
By Brandon Dorman
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 18, 2016. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Dear Reader, you hold in your hands a very special book that contains more than thirty-five classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes, plus your very own survival guide to the Land of Stories. If you notice the pages glowing, followed by an inviting humming noise, don’t be afraid! That is just the book’s magic. But whatever you do, don’t lean too far into the book. You never know where you might end up.
Enter the world of fairy tales in this stunning illustrated gift book that includes more than thirty-five beloved stories and rhymes retold by #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer.
This gorgeous, full-color companion book to the Land of Stories series will appeal to new and old fans alike, who will delight in favorite classics such as “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and more. Here is the beloved fairy-tale treasury that Alex and Conner fall into in The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell–a beautifully designed addition to the series, and the magical book that started it all!
Table of Contents
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A NOTE TO ALL STORYTELLERS
Imagine a world with magic. Now imagine this place is home to everything and everyone you were told wasn't "real." Imagine it has fairies and witches, mermaids and unicorns, giants and dragons, and trolls and goblins. Imagine they live in places like enchanted forests, gingerbread houses, underwater kingdoms, or castles in the sky.
Personally, I know such a place exists because it's where I'm from. This magical world is not as distant as you think. In fact, you've been there many times before. You travel there whenever you hear the words "Once upon a time." It's another realm, where all your favorite fairy-tale and nursery-rhyme characters live. In your world, we call it the Land of Stories.
For those of you familiar with fairy tales, I'm known as the Fairy Godmother. I'm best remembered for transforming Cinderella's raggedy clothes into a beautiful gown for the prince's ball—but I won't give anything else away in case you haven't read it. You'll be delighted to see it's the first story in this treasury.
I understand this all may come as a bit of a surprise. It's not every day you learn that a place like the Land of Stories exists outside one's imagination. Although it shouldn't be that shocking if you think about it: After all, if fiction is inspired by mythology, and myths are just embellished legends, and legends are exaggerated history, then all stories must have an element of truth to them. And I can assure you that the fairy-tale world is as real as the book you're holding in your hands.
You're probably wondering how the stories of the fairy-tale world became so prevalent in your world. Allow me to explain, for I am entirely to blame.
Many centuries ago, I discovered your world by accident. After a long and wonderful career of helping people (like Cinderella) achieve their dreams, I was only eager to do more. So one day I closed my eyes, waved my magic wand, and said, "I wish to go someplace where people need me the most." When I opened my eyes, I was no longer in the Land of Stories.
When I first arrived, your world was enduring a time known as the Dark Ages, and there couldn't be a better description. It was a period consumed with poverty, plague, and war. People were suffering and starving, and they were very doubtful that conditions would get any better.
I did what I could to help the people I met: I treated the sick, I fed the hungry, and I even tried to stop the violence throughout the land. Unfortunately, nothing I did prevented the disease and destitution from spreading.
However, it wasn't interaction your world needed; it was inspiration. In a world dominated by ruthless kings and warlords, the ideas of self-worth and self-empowerment were unheard of. So I started telling stories about my world to entertain and raise spirits, especially the poor children's. Little did I know it would become the greatest contribution of my lifetime.
I told stories about cowards who became heroes, peasants who became powerful, and the lonely who became beloved. The stories taught many lessons, but most important, they taught the world how to dream. The ability to dream was a much-needed introduction to hope, and it spread like a powerful epidemic. Families passed the stories from generation to generation, and over the years I watched their compassion and courage change the world.
I recruited other fairies to help me spread the tales from the Land of Stories around the world, and the stories became known as fairy tales. Over time, we asked writers like the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault to publish the stories so they would live on forever.
During that time, I realized how important storytelling is. While philosophy and science help enhance our mind and body, storytelling stimulates our spirit. It broadens our imagination, teaches us valuable lessons, shows us that things are not always as they seem, and encourages us to reach our greatest potential.
With that said, I have a favor to ask of anyone reading this: Become a storyteller! Read to others the fairy tales in this book. Read them stories from another book. If you can, create your own stories to share. When you pass along the art of storytelling to your family and friends, you make the world a better place.
By inspiring someone, you stimulate that person's creativity; and when someone is gifted with creativity, he or she inherently holds the source of progress and prosperity. Creativity is the simple but powerful ability to make something from nothing, and it just so happens that making something from nothing is also the definition of magic.
Become a storyteller and help us keep fairy tales alive. Even if people don't believe in magic, never let the world forget what it represents. Wherever there is a storyteller, there will always be hope.
Thank you, and may you all have a happily-ever-after!
The Fairy Godmother
CLASSIC FAIRY TALES
ADAPTED FROM CHARLES PERRAULT
Once upon a time, there was a lovely little girl named Cinderella. She was as beautiful as she was kind and treated everyone with compassion and respect, from the lords and ladies that lived in her village to the small mice that lived in her garden. Cinderella had a heart of gold and was beloved and befriended by all she met.
She lived in a charming home with her mother and father, and they were as happy as a family could be, until the unfortunate day her mother passed away.
Fearing Cinderella would grow up unhappy without a mother, her father soon remarried a widow from the village who had two daughters of her own. Her stepmother wasn't as warm or gentle as Cinderella's mother had been, and her stepsisters weren't very kind, but Cinderella loved them like the family she hoped they'd become.
Sadly, shortly after the marriage began, Cinderella's father also died, leaving her alone with her stepmother and stepsisters. It was then that her new family's true nature revealed itself. They removed everything from the home that had belonged to Cinderella's mother and father and filled the house with their own belongings. The stepsisters took Cinderella's bedroom for themselves and made her sleep on a stack of hay in the cellar. The stepmother took Cinderella's dresses away and gave her raggedy clothes to wear.
"If you want to continue living here, you'll have to work for it," the stepmother said.
From then on, Cinderella wasn't treated like a sister or daughter, but like a maid. Her stepmother and stepsisters gave her grueling chores and frivolous tasks and made her wait on them hand and foot as they enjoyed their new home.
As time went on, Cinderella grew to be a beautiful young woman, igniting the jealousy of her two stepsisters. As punishment for her beauty, they added to her chores until she was constantly covered in dirt, and Cinderella forgot she was pretty at all.
Despite her misfortune, Cinderella remained a kind and compassionate person. She knew her heart of gold was something her stepmother and stepsisters could never take away, and that alone gave her joy on the gloomiest days. She may have spent her time working for her stepfamily, but the nights were hers to dream of a better life, and those dreams gave her hope that good things would come.
One day, royal invitations were sent throughout the kingdom inviting all the young women in the land to a special ball the king and queen were hosting at the palace. At the ball, the very handsome Prince Charming would dance with all the young women in attendance and choose his future bride.
It was the most exciting news the kingdom had heard in years, and Cinderella's house was buzzing with anticipation. For weeks leading up to the ball, Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters spoke of nothing else. The stepsisters took turns fantasizing about what it would be like to dance with the prince and accept his marriage proposal. They purchased elegant fabrics and ordered Cinderella to make them dresses for the occasion.
While she listened to her stepsisters' daydreams and sewed their dresses, Cinderella also dreamed of what it would be like to attend the ball. She had never been to the palace before and wanted nothing more than to attend the ball with the other young women of the kingdom. When she was little she'd loved listening to her father's stories about visiting the palace on special occasions. He had promised to take her there one day when she was older, but now that he was gone, the ball seemed like Cinderella's only chance.
Cinderella worked on her stepsisters' dresses around the clock, hoping she would finish with enough time to make something for herself to wear. Soon the night of the ball came, and Cinderella only had time to sew patches over the holes and tears of her raggedy clothes.
A carriage arrived to take the stepmother and stepsisters to the palace, and Cinderella followed them outside.
"Where do you think you're going?" the stepmother asked.
"To the ball, of course," Cinderella said.
"You can't go to the palace dressed in those hideous rags," the stepmother said.
"Oh, please let me go, Stepmother," Cinderella pleaded. "I don't wish to dance with the prince, I only wish to see the palace. I'll stand in the very back where no one can see me."
"Absolutely not," the stepmother said. "The people at the palace will laugh at you. We'd be so embarrassed, we'd never show our faces in society again. Trust me, Cinderella; I'm doing you a favor."
And with that said, the stepmother and stepsisters climbed into the carriage and left for the ball. Cinderella fell to her knees and cried harder than she had ever cried before.
"Oh, Mother and Father," Cinderella prayed, "please forgive me for being so upset. I try so hard to have a happy heart, but it's difficult when your heart is broken."
Suddenly, a gust of wind circled Cinderella, and an old woman appeared out of thin air. She wore sparkling robes and had a kind smile. She dried Cinderella's tears and stroked her hair.
"There, there, my child," the old woman said. "A person as lovely as you shouldn't be so sad."
"Who are you?" Cinderella asked with a fright, for she had never seen the woman before in her life.
"I'm your Fairy Godmother," the woman said. "I'm here to help you."
"Out of all the people in the world, why would you help me?" Cinderella asked.
"I've been watching you, my child," the Fairy Godmother said. "You are kind to all, even when kindness isn't shown to you. You are compassionate, despite the little compassion you receive from others. You celebrate the good in life, even when life isn't good to you. You have a rare and special soul, so it would be my honor to help you attend the ball tonight."
"How can you help me?" Cinderella asked. "I'm filthy and have nothing to wear, and without a carriage, the ball will be over by the time I reach the palace on foot."
"Your circumstances seem bleak, I'm sure," the Fairy Godmother said. "But it's nothing a little touch of magic can't cure!"
The Fairy Godmother retrieved a long crystal wand from inside her robes. She waved it at a pumpkin growing in the garden, and it magically transformed into a large golden carriage. The transformation frightened six tiny mice, and they scurried away.
"Oh, splendid," the Fairy Godmother said when she saw the mice. "You'll need horses and someone to steer!"
She pointed her wand at the mice, and they magically turned into four horses, a coachman, and a footman.
"And now, for something to wear," the Fairy Godmother said and waved her wand over Cinderella. Her raggedy clothes were transformed into the most gorgeous and elegant ball gown she had ever seen, and glass slippers appeared on her tiny feet. Even in her wildest dreams, Cinderella had never thought she could look so beautiful.
"Now you must hurry to the ball before it's too late," the Fairy Godmother said. "You must be home before the clock strikes twelve, for the spell will be broken at midnight."
Cinderella thanked the Fairy Godmother, and the footman helped her into the golden carriage. The coachman took the horses' reins and they traveled down the road, headed for the palace.
By the time Cinderella reached the magnificent palace, the ball was well under way. She quickly climbed up the front steps to the entrance, desperate to be closer to the music and laughter coming from inside.
Once she entered the ballroom, Cinderella felt as though she had stepped into a dream. There were men and women dancing all around her, wearing the finest suits and gowns in the kingdom. There were mirrors and artwork on the walls, golden pillars, and a remarkable chandelier illuminating it all.
When the other people attending the ball saw Cinderella, the festivities came to a temporary halt. She was the most spectacular sight anyone had ever seen.
Cinderella saw her stepmother and stepsisters across the ballroom, but she was so beautiful they didn't recognize her. They stared at her in awe like everyone else. Cinderella even mesmerized the king and queen, who stood from their thrones to get a better look at her.
At first, their gazes worried Cinderella. Did they know she didn't belong there? Would she be asked to leave the ball? Her fears were silenced when a remarkably handsome man approached her and offered his hand.
"May I have this dance?" he asked her.
Cinderella didn't want to be rude, so she took his hand and they waltzed around the ballroom. Although she was certain they had never met, there was something so familiar about the man she danced with, as if they had met in a dream. As she looked around at all the awestruck faces in the ballroom, she quickly realized whom she was dancing with.
"You're the prince, aren't you?" Cinderella asked.
"I am," he said with a smile. "And who are you?"
"I'm… I'm…" Cinderella said and glanced up at the clock. "I'm so sorry, but I have to go!"
It was almost midnight! Cinderella had completely lost track of time while she was dancing with the prince. She only had a few moments before the spell was broken. Cinderella ran out of the ballroom as fast as she could in her glass slippers.
"No, wait!" the prince called after her. "Please come back!"
Cinderella didn't want to leave the prince, but she couldn't let him see her transform back into a servant. She ran down the front steps of the palace, and the prince chased after her. A glass slipper slid off her foot as she went, but she didn't have time to retrieve it.
The footman helped Cinderella into the golden carriage, and they raced home. They arrived on the front lawn of the house right at midnight's final toll. Cinderella's gown turned back into her raggedy clothes, the carriage turned back into a pumpkin, and the footman, the coachman, and the horses transformed back into the garden mice.
"I can't thank you enough for helping me tonight," Cinderella said as she gratefully petted the mice. "I'll remember it forever!"
When her stepmother and stepsisters returned a few hours later, all they talked about was the mysterious woman the prince danced with at the ball. As Cinderella helped them get ready for bed, they tried to guess who the mysterious woman was and where she came from, never realizing she was right in front of them.
The next morning, the kingdom awoke to wonderful news. After dancing with all the young women in the land, the prince had chosen his bride. There was only one problem: No one knew who she was or where she came from. The only clue the prince had was the small glass slipper she had left behind.
So the prince set off on a quest around the kingdom searching for the woman he had met at the ball. He searched for weeks, trying the slipper on the feet of princesses, duchesses, and all the daughters of the aristocratic families, but there still was no match in sight. He then had all the young women in the land without a title or royal lineage try on the glass slipper. Because it was meant for such a small and delicate foot, none of the women's feet fit.
The prince's final stop was at Cinderella's home. The stepsisters fought over who would try on the glass slipper first, certain they could trick the prince into thinking it belonged to them.
The first sister pushed her foot into the slipper so frantically it almost broke. The second sister crammed her foot inside the slipper so tightly it started to bleed.
"I'm afraid the woman you're looking for isn't here," the stepmother said. "But either of my daughters would make you a wonderful wife, Your Highness."
"Wait," the prince said. "What about her?"
Cinderella had just come up from the cellar with an armload of firewood when she caught the prince's eye.
"You mean Cinderella?" the stepmother said with a laugh. "She's just a servant girl, Your Highness. She couldn't possibly be the woman you're looking for."
However, unlike the stepmother and stepsisters, the prince was able to look past Cinderella's raggedy clothes and the dirt on her skin. He knew there was something special about the servant girl, and he needed to try the slipper on her to be sure.
"Please, I insist," the prince said.
Cinderella had a seat, and the prince placed the glass slipper on her foot. To everyone's amazement (except Cinderella's, of course), it was a perfect fit! The prince kissed her cheek and proposed on the spot.
At first, Cinderella didn't know how to answer. She had met the prince only once before, but he had been in her thoughts every day since the ball. Waltzing around the ballroom had been the happiest experience of her life, and after years of unpleasant memories, Cinderella was ready to make new ones.
"Yes, Your Highness," Cinderella said. "I will marry you."
Despite the years of cruel treatment, Cinderella forgave her stepmother and stepsisters and invited them to her wedding. Sadly, they didn't come. Just as the stepmother predicted, Cinderella had caused them so much embarrassment that they never showed their faces in society again.
Cinderella and the prince were married the following week in an enormous celebration at the palace. Church bells rang joyfully around the kingdom, and Cinderella was welcomed into the royal family with open arms. She and the prince had a wonderful marriage, and they lived happily ever after.
HANSEL AND GRETEL
ADAPTED FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM
Once upon a time, there were a brother and sister named Hansel and Gretel. They lived with their father and stepmother in a small cottage at the edge of the woods. Their father was a good man who loved his children more than anything else in the world. His wife, however, was a mean and selfish woman who became jealous of the affection her husband showed his children.
Their father was a woodcutter and did all he could to provide for his family, but due to a recent famine spreading across the land, times were hard for peasant families in the kingdom. Food was scarce, and many worried about surviving the approaching winter.
"If we don't do something, we'll starve!" the wife told the woodcutter one night before bed. "We barely have enough food for the two of us. We must get rid of Hansel and Gretel if we want to survive."
"I could never get rid of my children," the woodcutter said. "They mean everything to me!"
"It'll be easy," said the wife, who had already devised a plan. "Tomorrow, we'll take Hansel and Gretel deep into the forest and leave them there. They're so young, they won't be able to find their way home. They'll get lost and a hungry pack of wolves will find them. We'll never have to worry about feeding them again."
"I would rather starve than abandon my children," the woodcutter said. "I won't hear another word of this. We will find another way to get through the winter."
Despite her husband's wishes, the wife was convinced her plan was the only solution. Luckily, Hansel and Gretel were still awake and heard their father and stepmother's conversation through the thin walls of their cottage.
"What will we do, Hansel?" Gretel asked her brother. "Our stepmother will surely try to abandon us in the woods while Father is away chopping wood tomorrow."
"Don't fret, Gretel," Hansel said. "I'll gather white pebbles tonight while they sleep and create a trail to follow back home."
So Hansel snuck outside while his father and stepmother slept and gathered as many white pebbles as he could find. The next morning, once the woodcutter left to chop down trees, his wife led the children into the woods.
"Where are we going?" Gretel asked.
"To collect firewood," their stepmother said. "Now be quiet and follow me."
She led them deep into the heart of the forest, farther than Hansel and Gretel had ever gone before. Hansel dropped a white pebble every few steps, leaving a trail behind them. They traveled the whole day and came to a stop just as the sun began to set.
"Now look around and help me gather wood," their stepmother said. But before she finished her sentence, she dashed back in the direction from which they had come, leaving her stepchildren all alone in the woods.
Hansel and Gretel followed the trail of white pebbles to their cottage. The forest became so dark after nightfall, the small white stones were the only thing they could see. By the time they returned, their father was worried sick about them.
"Thank the Lord you're all right," the woodcutter said and embraced his children tightly. "Where is your stepmother?"
To Hansel and Gretel's surprise, they had arrived home before their stepmother. Without a trail of pebbles, the woodcutter's wife had a hard time navigating through the woods and returned several hours after her stepchildren. She was furious to see that Hansel and Gretel had found their way back to the cottage.
"What happened?" the woodcutter asked his wife.
"We went to retrieve firewood," the wife said. "I turned my back for one minute and they were gone."
"I pray it doesn't happen again," the woodcutter said.
"Don't worry, it won't," the wife said and glared at her stepchildren when her husband wasn't looking.
That night, the wife locked Hansel and Gretel in their room so they couldn't sneak out to collect any more white pebbles.
"Oh, Hansel, what are we to do now?" Gretel asked her brother. "Our stepmother will surely try to abandon us again tomorrow."
"Don't fret, Gretel," Hansel said. "Tomorrow morning at breakfast, we'll save our crusts of bread and use bread crumbs to make a trail."
Just as predicted, as soon as their father left the next morning, their stepmother led Hansel and Gretel back into the woods. They walked even longer this time, traveling farther into the trees than ever before. Hansel left crumbs behind them as they went and nearly ran out by the time they stopped.
"Now gather up some wood," their stepmother said.
Once again, she dashed back toward the cottage and left Hansel and Gretel all alone in the woods. It was so late that Hansel and Gretel decided to sleep in the woods and wait for morning to follow the bread crumbs home. Unfortunately, by the time they awoke, the morning birds had eaten all the bread crumbs they'd left behind!
Hansel and Gretel walked through the woods in what they hoped was the right direction, but there were so many trees, it was impossible to tell. They walked for hours and hours, never finding a familiar part of the forest.
They finally found a friendly white bird and followed it through the woods, hoping it might lead them home. The longer they followed the bird, the more a wonderful aroma filled the air. It was a sweet smell, as if something delicious was baking in an oven nearby.
Hansel and Gretel came upon a clearing in the middle of the woods. They were delighted to see, in the center of the clearing, a house made entirely of food. It had gingerbread walls, a fence made of candy canes, and a garden of gumdrop shrubs. The roof was covered in frosting, and the windows were made of clear sugar panes.
"I've never seen something so delicious!" Gretel exclaimed.
Praise for the Land of Stories series:A #1 New York Times BestsellerA Barnes & Noble Best Kids' Book of the Year
- "A magical debut."—Family Circle
- "Captivating"—Teen Vogue
- "In The Land of Stories, Colfer showcases his talent for crafting fancifully imaginative plots and multidimensional characters."—Los Angeles Times
- "There's more in Colfer's magic kingdoms than Disney has dreamt of."—USA Today
- "It will hit big with its combination of earnestness and playful poise."—The New York Times Book Review
- "It's hard not to love a book dedicated to the Glee star's grandmother...Colfer gets off many good lines [and] the nifty ending ties the plot's multiple strands up while leaving room for further fairy tale adventures."—Publishers Weekly
- On Sale
- Oct 18, 2016
- Page Count
- 336 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers