My Granny’s house is filled with old books. The covers are fading, the spines are damaged and the pages are darker at the edges. Last time we went to stay, I was having a look through some of the children’s books upstairs. I have a bit of a thing for old children’s books, and love nothing more than stumbling across a collection of vintage stories in the charity shop (the other day I came across an original Nancy Drew story!).
Last time we visited my Granny, I was looking through the books in the upstairs bedroom when I stumbled across Cautionary Tales for Children. First published in 1907, a 1957 reprint, this book is old. It is falling to pieces, and must be read with great care. On the inside cover, in my dad’s illegible scrawl, his name is smudged in fountain pen. He very kindly said I could have the book, well, he said Ebony could, but she isn’t great at taking care of things, so I’m holding onto it for now.
It currently resides on the mantelpiece in the living room, and Ebony points to it most days and asks me to read it. It’s a collection of funny stories and is lovely to read. It reminds me of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, because the rhythm is similar. Cautionary Tales for Children features funny stories about children who misbehaved and lived to regret it. Like the little boy who ran away from his nurse only to be eaten by a lion, and the little girl who burned to death for lying. Jolly book.I’d never heard of it before, but it turns out it is a very popular and well-known book. I think Ebony likes the rhyming nature of the words, and the fact that it once belonged to her Papa.