These Mother Carey Tales were written for children of all ages, who have not outgrown the delight of a fairy tale. It might almost be said that they were written chiefly for myself, for I not only have had the pleasure of telling them to the little ones, and enjoying their quick response, but have also had the greater pleasure of thinking them and setting them down.
As I write, I look from a loved window, across a landscape that I love, and my eye rests on a tall beautiful pine planted with my own hands years ago. It is a mass of green fringes, with gem-like tips of buds and baby cones, beautiful, exquisitely beautiful, whether seen from afar as a green spire, or viewed close at hand as jewellery. It is beautiful, fragile and — unimportant, as the world sees it; yet through its wind-waved mass one can get little glimpses of the thing that backs it all, the storm-defying shaft, the enduring rigid living growing trunk of massive timber that gives it the nobility of strength, and adds value to the rest; sometimes it must be sought for, but it always surely is there, ennobling the lesser pretty things.
I hope this tree is a fair image of my fairy tale. I know my child friends will love the piney fringes and the jewel cones, and they can find the unyielding timber in its underlying truth, if they seek for it. If they do not, it is enough to have them love the cones.