Saturday, September 17, 2011

Frontispiece from "Told Under the Green Umbrella"

I love this frontispiece from the 1949 hardcover "Told Under the Green Umbrella." The illustration's caption states:
"He holds a green umbrella over the good children, and then they dream the most delightful stories all night long. -- Olé Luköié"
The book is subtitled "Old Stories for New Children," as selected by the Literature Committee of the International Kindergarten Union.1 The pictures, and presumably the colorful frontispiece, are by Grace Gilkison.

The first tale in the book is titled "Olé Luköié, The Dustman."2 It begins:
"There is nobody in all the world who can tell so many stories as Olé Luköié! And such stories as he can tell!

"When night is drawing on, and the children are sitting round the table as good as possible or on their little footstools, in walks Olé Shut-eyes. He comes so quietly up the stairs without his shoes, and opens the door so softly that nobody hears him; and, puff! he sends a shower of milk into their eyes in such a fine spray as to be invisible; but they can't keep their eyes open after it, and so they never see him. He steals behind them and breathes upon their necks, making their heads as heavy as lead. But he never hurts them; he does it all from kindness to the children. He only wants them to be quiet, and the best way to make them quiet is to have them in bed; when they are settled there, he can tell them his stories."
The tale further describes Olé's green umbrella, which is covered with pictures that are held over the good children, so that they "dream the most delightful stories all night long."

According to Wikipedia, "'Ole Lukøje' is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen based upon a folk tale telling of a mysterious mythic creature of the Sandman, who gently takes children to sleep and, depending on how good or bad they were, shows them various dreams."

His name is composed of two parts: Olé being a common Danish boy's name and Lukøje meaning eye-closer in Danish.

Sounds like Olé Luköié -- or Ole Lukøje -- would make a good companion to Story Gnome!

1. "Literature Committee of the International Kindergarten Union." Wow, it's like getting your fairy tales via Samuel Gompers.
2. Other stories in the book include The Three Little Pigs, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Scrapefoot (an earlier version of Goldilocks), and The Elves and the Shoemaker.

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