August 8, 2012

This edition of Andrew Lang’s Violet Fairy Tale Book is illustrated by Robert Venables. The cover illustration is for the Serbian folk tale, ‘The Finest Liar in the World’. Why is the lad riding the giant chicken chasing the giant bee the finest liar in the world? Because he states, among other things:

1. ‘In my youth, when I was an old man, we had a quantity of beehives.’

2. ‘At length I reached home, where I was told that my father had just been born, and that I must go at once to fetch some holy water to sprinkle him with.’

3. ‘In despair I threw myself on the ground, and instantly sank in it as far as my waist. I struggled to get out, but only fell in further; so I ran to the house, seized a spade, dug myself out, and took some holy water.’

4. ‘When I got to the well everything was frozen hard, so in order to draw some water I had to take off my head and break the ice with it.’

That’s some pretty fine lying indeed.

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