A Wonder Book Synopsis
A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys (1851) is a children’s book by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne in which he retells several Greek myths.
The stories in A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys are all stories within a story. The frame story is that Eunice Bright, a Williams College student, is telling these tales to a group of children at Tanglewood, an area in Lenox, Massachusetts, where Hawthorne lived for a time. All the tales are modified versions of ancient Greek myths:
‘The Gorgon’s Head’ – recounts the story of Perseus killing Medusa at the request of the king of the island, Polydectes.
‘The Golden Touch’ – recounts the story of King Midas and his “Golden Touch”.
‘The Paradise of Children’ – recounts the story of Pandora opening the box filled with all of mankind’s Troubles.
‘The Three Golden Apples’ – recounts the story of Heracles procuring the Three Golden Apples from the Hesperides’ orchard, with the help of Atlas.
‘The Miraculous Pitcher’ – recounts the story of Baucis and Philemon providing food and shelter to two strangers who were Zeus and ‘Quicksilver” (Hermes) in disguise. Baucis and Philemon were rewarded by the gods for their kindness; they were promised never to live apart from one another.
‘The Chimæra’ – recounts the story of Bellerophon taming Pegasus and killing the Chimæra.
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About Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was an American novelist and short story writer. His works often focus on history, morality, and religion.
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