Persia is rich in folk lore. For hundreds and hundreds of years the
stories in this book, and many others as well, have been told to the
wondering boys and girls of that country, who, as they hear them,
picture their native land as one of roses and tulips, where beautiful
fairies build their castles in the rosy morn, and black gnomes fly
around in the darkness of midnight.
A land, too, where the sun gleams like a fire above the blue mountains,
and the water lilies are mirrored in the deep lakes. A land where the
eyes of the tigers gleam through the reeds by the riverside, and
dark-eyed, sunburned people are quick to love and quick to hate.
The belief in the “Ghool,” or “Old Man of the Desert,” is still
prevalent in Persia, which probably accounts for the popularity of the
story of “The Son of the Soap Seller.” The other stories selected for
this volume are great favorites, but the story of “The Cat and the
Mouse” is perhaps the most popular of all.
The frontispiece to this volume is a reduced facsimile of a whole page
in a Persian book, showing both the pictures and the reading as they
were published in Persia. The other illustrations for “The Cat and the
Mouse” are copies of drawings by a Persian artist.
“Two friends on one carpet may with contentment sleep;
Two monarchs in one kingdom the peace can never keep.
While earth revolves, and little children play,
Cats over mice will always hold the sway.”