"East of the
Sun and West of the Moon" (1914)
Illustrated by Kay Nielsen
The 15 tales in the version illustrated by Nielsen include: 'East of the Sun
West of the Moon'; 'The Blue Belt'; 'Prince Lindworm'; 'The Lassie
Husband who was to mind the House'; 'The Lad who went
North Wind'; 'The Three Princesses of
'Sophia Moria Castle'; 'The Giant who had no Heart in his Body';
'The Princess on the Glass Hill'; 'The Widow's Son'; 'The Three Billy-goats Gruff';
'The Three Princesses in the Blue
Mountain'; 'The Cat on the Dovrefell'; and 'One's own Children are always Prettiest'.
Nielsen's colour illustrations were completed for this
contribution throughout 1913 and 1914. As with his images for "In Powder and Crinoline",
illustrations were reproduced with a 4-colour process. Comment within the Preface to
"East of the Sun and West of the Moon"
describes the images contributed by Nielsen beautifully:
A Folk-Tale, in its primitive plainness of word and
entire absence of complexity in thought, is
peculiarly sensitive and susceptible to the touch of
stranger hands; and he who has been able
to acquaint himself with the Norske
Folkeeventyr of Asbjörnsen and Moe (from which these
stories are selected), has an advantage over the
reader of an English rendering. Of this
advantage Mr. Kay Nielsen has fully availed himself: and the exquisite bizarrerie of his
drawings aptly expresses the innermost significant of
the old-world, old-wives' fables. For to
term these legends, Nursery Tales, would be to curtail them, by nine-tenths, of their interest.
They are the romances of the childhood of Nations: they
are the never-failing springs of
sentiment, of sensation, of heroic example, from which
primeval peoples drank their fill at will.
The quaintness, the tenderness, the grotesque yet
realistic intermingling of actuality with
supernaturalism, by which the original Norske Folkeeventyr are characterised, will make an
appeal to all, as represented in the pictures of Kay
Nielsen. And these imperishable traditions,
whose bases are among the very roots of antiquity, are here reincarnated in line and colour, to
the delight of all who ever knew or now shall know
Contemporary reviews of Nielsen's illustrations were most
favourable and included the following comment in "The New York Times"
(December 20, 1914):
Mr Nielsen is a newcomer among illustrators, and he deserves
a royal welcome, for his lines
are beautiful, and he has a powerful imagination, a sense of
the supernatural which makes
him particularly successful in the interpretation of the
curious old Norse folk tales which fill
this sumptuous volume.