Yei Theodora Ozaki - Japanese Fairy Tales (846.0 Kb)
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Fairy tale is an English language term for a type of short narrative corresponding to the French phrase conte de f'ee, the German term M"archen, the Italian fiaba, the Polish ba's'n or the Swedish saga. Only a small number of the stories thus designated explicitly refer to fairies. Nonetheless, the stories may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends and traditions (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables. Fairy tales typica... More >>>
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Fairy tale is an English language term for a type of short narrative corresponding to the French phrase conte de f'ee, the German term M"archen, the Italian fiaba, the Polish ba's'n or the Swedish saga. Only a small number of the stories thus designated explicitly refer to fairies. Nonetheless, the stories may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends and traditions (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables. Fairy tales typically feature such folkloric characters as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. Often the story will involve a far-fetched sequence of events. In less technical contexts, the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy tale ending" or "fairy tale romance" (though not all fairy tales end happily). Colloquially, a "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any far-fetched story or tall tale. In cultures where demons and witches are perceived as real, fairy tales may merge into legends, where the narrative is perceived both by teller and hearers as being grounded in historical truth. However, unlike legends and epics, they usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and actual places, people, and events they take place once upon a time rather than in actual times. Fairy tales are found in oral and in literary form. The history of the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace, because only the literary forms can survive. Still, the evidence of literary works at least indicates that fairy tales have existed for thousands of years, although not perhaps recognized as a genre the name "fairy tale" was first ascribed to them by Madame d'Aulnoy. Many of today's fairy tales have evolved from centuries-old stories that have appeared, with variations, in multiple cultures around the world. Fairy tales, and works derived from fairy tales, are still written today. The older fairy tales were intended for an audience of adults as well as children, but they were associated with children as early as the writings of the pr'ecieuses the Brothers Grimm titled their collection Children's and Household Tales, and the link with children has only grown stronger with time. Folklorists have classified fairy tales in various ways. Among the most notable are the Aarne-Thompson classification system and the morphological analysis of Vladimir Propp. Other folklorists have interpreted the tales' significance, but no school has been definitively established for the meaning of the tales.
Yei Theodora Ozaki (Eiko Seodora Ozaki, 1871 - December 28, 1932) was an early 20th-century translator of Japanese short stories and fairy tales. Her translations were fairly liberal but have been popular, and were reprinted several times after her death.
According to "A Biographical Sketch" by Mrs. Hugh Fraser, included in the introductory material to Warriors of old Japan, and other stories, Ozaki came from an unusual background. She was the daughter of Baron Ozaki, one of the first Japanese men to study in the West, and Bathia Catherine Morrison, daughter of William Morrison, one of their teachers. Her parents separated after five years of marriage, and her mother retained custody of their three daughters until they became teenagers. At that time, Yei was sent to live in Japan with her father, which she enjoyed. Later she refused an arranged marriage, left her father's house, and became a teacher and secretary to earn money. Over the years, she traveled back and forth between Japan and Europe, as her employment and family duties took her, and lived in places as diverse as Italy and the drafty upper floor of a Buddhist temple.
All this time, her letters were frequently misdelivered to the unrelated Japanese politician Yukio Ozaki, and his to her. In 1904, they finally met, and soon married.