By Herman Hesse
To read Herman Hesse’s fairy tales is to enter a fabulous world of dreams and visions, philosophy and passion. This landmark collection contains twenty two of Hesse’s finest stories in this genre, most translated into English here for the first time. Full of visionaries and seekers, princesses and wandering poets, his fairy tales speak to the place in our psyche that inspires us with deep spiritual longing; that compels us to leave home and inevitably to return; and that harbours the greatest joys and most devastating wounds of our heart.
Containing all the themes common in Hesse’s great novels–Siddharta, Steppenwolf, and Demian–and mirroring events in his own life, these exquisite short pieve exhibit the same mystical and romantic impulses that contribute to the haunting brilliance of his major works. Several stories, including “The Poet,” “The Fairy Tale About the Wicker Chair,” and “The Painter”, examine the dilemma of the artist, torn between the drive for perfection and the temptations of pleasure and social success. Other tales reflect changes and struggles within society: in “Faldum,” a city is irrevocably transformed when each resident is granted his or her fondest wish; in “Strange News from Another Planet,” “If the War Continues,” and “The European,” nightmarish landscapes convey Hesse’s devastating critiques of nationalism, barbarism, and war.