The story which runs through and makes up the bulk of this book is my own. The intention has been, however, to make it conform to the laws governing certain beings commonly regarded in this country as mythical, as those laws are revealed in the folk-lore of many peoples, and particularly of the Irish people. Almost every incident in which the fairies are concerned might occur, and very many of them do actually occur, in Irish folk-lore. But in a real folk-tale there are usually only two or three, or, at any rate, only a few, of the characteristic incidents, while this story attempts to combine many of them.
The shorter stories wherewith the main story is interspersed are all, to the best of my information and belief, genuine Irish folk-tales. I have told them in my own way, of course. I have sometimes condensed and sometimes elaborated them, but I have seldom, if ever, I think, materially changed their substance. I have never had the opportunity to collect such stories as these for myself, and if I had, I should probably find that I had not the ability. I have therefore had to turn for the substance of these tales to collections made by others—men whose patient and affectionate care and labor have preserved a great mass of the beautiful Irish legends, which, without them, might have died.