During the nineteenth century in Europe two very distinct kinds of fairy tale became fashionable. On the one hand there was the collection of folk material, transcribed from oral tradition in Germany by the Brothers Grimm, and from French oral culture by Perrault, versions of which began to appear in England during the latter half of the century. Constance Wilde herself contributed to this when she published There Was Once! Grandma’s Stories in 1889. Mrs Wilde maintains a sense of telling stories and, indeed, of the specifically female domain of this activity, by writing in the Introduction:

There was once, my children, a little girl who loved her grandmother to tell her stories … The little girl is grown up now, and the dear grandmother is gone, but there are still children who love the old fairy stories, so the little girl has written them out for you just as they were told to her.1