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Mabie, was an editor of The Independent, lecturer, and prolific author of volumes of essays. Mabie writes in the Introduction that: The group of stories brought together in this volume differ from legends because they have, with one exception, no core of fact at the center, from myths because they make no attempt to personify or explain the forces or processes of nature, from fairy stories because they do not often bring on to the stage actors of a different nature from ours. The stories which make up this volume are closer to experience and come, for the most part, nearer to the everyday happenings of life. Contributors to this popular anthology include Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edward Everett Hale and others.