Selkirk fairytale festival gets under way

Image source, Colin Hattersley

A festival of fairytales, inspired by the books of Andrew Lang, is getting under way in the Scottish Borders.

The event takes place in Selkirk over three days until Saturday.

Lang was born in the town in 1844 and produced books of fairytales and stories from around the world.

The festival is being staged at The Haining, the mansion house and estate which was one of his boyhood haunts. It feature talks, puppetry, drama and exhibitions based around his work.

Lawrence Robertson, of the Haining Trust, said it was time Lang was more widely recognised and celebrated.

"Andrew Lang is probably quite well known for people of my generation - late 60s - because we grew up listening to his stories being read on Children's Hour," he said.

"But I think, for the subsequent generations, he is not really a familiar name."

Who was Andrew Lang?

Andrew Lang was born on 31 March 1844 in Selkirk and educated at St Andrews University and Balliol College, Oxford.

He moved to London in 1875 and quickly became famous for his critical articles in The Daily News and other papers.

He displayed talent as a poet in Ballads and Lyrics of Old France (1872), Helen of Troy (1882), and Grass of Parnassus (1888) and as a novelist with The Mark of Cain (1886) and The Disentanglers (1902).

He earned special praise for his 12-volume collection of fairy tales, the first volume of which was The Blue Fairy Book (1889) and the last The Lilac Fairy Book (1910). His own fairy tales, The Gold of Fairnilee (1888), Prince Prigio (1889), and Prince Ricardo of Pantouflia (1893) became children's classics.

Lang also turned his attentions to history and historical mysteries and produced well-known translations of Homer.

He died in Banchory on 20 July 1912.

Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica

Mr Robertson said he hoped the festival might help to make Lang's name better known.

"Those of us who live in the Borders, we are fed a very rich diet of Hogg, Scott and the Border Ballads," he said.

"Andrew Lang is right up there with these characters, particularly in terms of his work on fairytales.

"I think it is time people were given the chance to read them, hear them, and start enjoying them because he is part of our Selkirk heritage."

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