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You are fond of stories, my dear children. Stories that you can read over the fire, in the winter-time, or under a green tree in the garden, when the sun is shining and the birds are singing their summer songs.
And you have plenty of such stories, have you not? Tales of good children and naughty children; of good and bad men and women; and of kings and queens who lived long ago, and spent their days in fighting with each other, or in doing good to their people, as the case might be.
And you have also, I daresay, some pleasant fairy tales, telling of strange things that you know could never really happen : and about people that you feel sure never really lived; but of whom you like, for all that, to read in your playtime through the week.
Now, I am going to tell you some stories that you may read on Sundays, when, perhaps, your other books are put away ; and my stories are all true.
I am going to tell you about things which took place hundreds and thousands of years ago; of cities that are not to be found now marked on every map; of battles fought long before there were any guns or
cannons ; and of people who lived upon this earth when it was yet fresh from the hands of God, who made it. Some of these people were good and some were bad. Some of them loved God, and tried to please Him, and to make their fellow-creatures love Him too ; whilst some loved only themselves, and were hard and cruel and wicked.
I shall also tell you of kings who were rich and had great power, and yet were, some of them, sad and full of troubles; and of poor men and women who had no money, and, perhaps, no house to live in, and who yet were so happy that they never wished to change their lot on earth.
And you may be quite sure that all I shall tell you is true, because I shall take all my stories, and almost all my very words, from a Book which God Himself has caused to be written by those who knew His will, that we who live in these days may learn from His teaching how to “choose the good and refuse the evil”; and so to live in this world as to be ready to go, when life is over, to another and a better one, where we may be happy with Him for ever. In short, I am going to tell, as best I can,
THE STORY OF STORIES, FOR LITTLE ONES.
The Creation of the World—The Fall of Man, The Death of Abel