Long, long ago, when all the world was young and there were but few people dwelling on it, the strangest things could often come to pass. Then fairy folk still lived in the greenwoods and elves sang and danced in the soft summer dawns. Then trees could sing and flowers speak and birds would carry messages about the world; wild beasts were often loyal friends to men and helped them in their difficulties. In these old days, most noble dukes and earls would fall in love with dairymaids whose gentle ways and manners charmed their hearts. Sometimes great kings grew weary of the splendor of their courts and left their thrones to live as simple peasants. Each princess had a fairy godmother who showered her with magic gifts. Then wise men read the stars and seers would gaze in crystal bowls to tell the coming good or ill they saw.
In those old days, the housewives left a bit of bread and cheese upon the pantry shelf each evening, that the brownie who was said to dwell in every kitchen might have a midnight feast. These brownies, 'twas said also, would make much mischief if they were not treated very well. In early dawns, when fields of flowers were asparkle in the sun, the milkmaids used to bathe their eyes and ears with dew that they might see the fairy folk forever afterward and hear them sing at midnight in the glen. The farmers' boys would search among the hedges in hopes of meeting The Red Caps who were said to bring much luck. These Red Caps too were said to give a magic purse of gold to those they fancied, a purse that was always brimful no matter what was spent from it. The witches still rode broomsticks through the skies and there were wishing wells and magic charms and spells.
In those delightful days of which I tell, there were not scores and scores of books as there are now. Travelers journeying about the world told tales of the wonders that they saw and heard. It was not then thought strange that kings and queens or royal counselors and such wise folk should love to hear these wonder tales. In those dear days, indeed, the grown folk all loved wonder tales as well as children love them now and were not worse because of it. Sometimes these wonder tales were told by magic chairs or chests; sometimes by birds or beasts that were enchanted and had power of speech.
It has been related that in those olden days there was a lovely bird with plumage all of the purest gold and it was called The Golden Bird. The Golden Bird had a voice so rare and sweet that when it sang the nightingales stopped midway in their songs to listen. The Golden Bird likewise possessed the gift of speech and could tell wonder tales the like of which were never heard before or since. When it began to sing in any land, news that The Golden Bird had come spread swiftly everywhere. The king would then declare a holiday which lasted all the time The Golden Bird was in the land. The people hastened to the greenwood and there beneath the trees would listen while The Golden Bird told wonder tales and sang for their delight. And thus, The Golden Bird flew all about the world, to every land, beloved by all folk everywhere.
But sad to tell, at last there came a time when The Golden Bird was seen no more. The folk of every land looked anxiously for its return and thought it stayed too long in other places. But years passed by and still The Golden Bird came not. Then travelers journeying about the world declared The Golden Bird was nowhere to be found and all the people mourned at these sad tidings. Some thought the lovely bird had perished at some greedy hunter's hand; others said the world had grown too wicked for The Golden Bird to dwell here any longer. However, what had happened to the lovely creature, no one ever knew.
But sadder still to tell is this: When The Golden Bird was seen to fly about the earth no more, the people did not hold its memory dear. As time passed on and it came not, they thought about it less and less and very few recalled the wonder tales The Golden Bird had told. Then as the world grew older and all folk began to doubt about the fairies and to scoff at wishing wells, The Golden Bird was quite forgot by all save one. This one, a little girl who tended flocks upon a mountain, gazed in the clouds at dawn each day in hopes to see The Golden Bird come soaring. Sometimes she wept because The Golden Bird came not. At last, to please the child, her aged grand dame, who had heard The Golden Bird tell wonder tales when she had been a child, took pen and ink and wrote them down as she remembered them. She wrote, 'tis said, a hundred tales and more and through the ages that have passed between here and then, those tales have been passed from family to family in hopes we not forget.
And, so is the goal of this website. To keep those stories alive. To keep the imaginations of the children alive and flourishing. To forever be in search of The Golden Bird. Please enjoy our stories. Tell your friends. Visit often. Share a story with a friend or loved one. Never be afraid to imagine. Never be afraid to dream. Start anywhere you wish and read as long as you like. The only true beginning is where you start. Pick a page and then another and never stop reading. We'll be here anytime you need inspiration or a get-away. Happy reading.