Narrator

John Rayburn

John Rayburn
  • Scarhaven Keep is a classic mystery for young adults. When a famous actor goes missing, the search leads playwright Richard Copplestone to the seaside town of Scarhaven. Every clue seems to bring about more questions as the intrigue goes much deeper than anyone suspects. Copplestone uncovers layer after layer of dark secrets, many of them involving the attractive Audrey Greyle and her family. If Copplestone does not discover the truth soon, he risks endangering the lives of the friends he has made in Scarhaven, including Audrey. Fans of golden-era mysteries will delight in J. S. Fletcher’s story, a tightly plotted page-turner set in a coastal region of northern England. Several friends and business associates of the missing actor set out to track him down. The trail leads to nearby Scarhaven, where the details of a nefarious plot begin to be revealed. It’s all here for listening pleasure.

  • It wouldn’t be out of line to call this book a great world of pretend. It is actually eight short stories that are clever and magical, as well as frightening at times.

    For example, a fierce dragon crawls out of the dungeons of a castle and seems to be aiming at eating an entire nearby village. The wild beast frightens a poor blacksmith who has the sense and ability to trick the ferocious animal and save the town and its people.

    One of the classic tales tells of a princess who has a heart of gold which gives her immunity to being eaten by any attacking dragon. You’ll learn about Elfin, a clever pig keeper who wins the heart of the lovely princess.

    The storyteller, Edith Nesbit, was born in 1858 in what is now Greater London. She had the imaginative foresight to concoct tales that often found her called the creator of modern children’s fantasy. Her imagination attracted children of her time and involved them in what seemed to be a real world filled with unexpected adventures.

    Her powers of invention brought us the magical stories we’re about to hear.

  • Lord Dunsany himself wrote a preface to this fairy tale. He said, “I hope that no suggestion of any strange land that may be conveyed by the title will scare readers away from this book; for, though some chapters do indeed tell of Elfland, in the greater part of them there is no more to be shown than the face of the fields we know, and ordinary English woods and a common village and valley, a good twenty or twenty-five miles from the border of Elfland.”

    The story began when the Lord of Erl was told by his people they wanted a magic lord to rule them. That took some doing, but he sent his son Alveric to retrieve Lirazel, daughter of the King of Elfland, to be his wife and thus fix the situation. At first, the King was angered and sent guards to kill Alveric, but the young man of Erl fought them off, and Lizarel fell for him and decided to leave with him. Later, under a spell, she decided she wanted to see her old home again. The King, sorry to see his daughter ever being sad, used magic to enlarge Elfland and include the land of Erl.

    “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.”
    —Walt Disney

    If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.”
    —Albert Einstein

    “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
    —C. S. Lewis

    From those wonderful viewpoints, everyone in Erl and Elfland survived eternally in the magic realm, as you will now hear.

  • A seventeenth-century writer named Charles Perrault was sometimes called Mother Goose, an imaginary author of fairy tales. His early material was inspired and derived from earlier folk tales that he greatly embellished and improved. The Mother Goose creation was actually based on European popular tradition. She was never identified as an actual person but instead was merely a way of calling attention to popular and rural storytelling. The tales most often ended with a moral, such as: “Good manners are not easy/ They need a little care,/ But when we least expect it/ Bring rewards both rich and rare.”

    One of the most popular versions of the long-ago tales was “Cinderella,” and Perrault made several modifications to the original, these including the pumpkin carriage, fairy godmother, and the initial mention of the “glass slippers.”

    This collection includes that story, along with other such known favorites as “Sleeping Beauty,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Blue Beard,” and “Puss in Boots,” along with such lesser known fairy tales as “The Ridiculous Wishes,” “Little Thumb,” “Ricky of the Tuft,” “Griselda,” and “Donkey Skin.”

    Some of the stories were told similar to the style in which they had been written well more than three hundred years ago, with revisions in the telling over the years.

    Listen now and enjoy.

  • The time has been, but happily exists no longer, when it would have been necessary to offer an apology for such a book as this. In those days it was not held that Beauty is its own excuse for being; on the contrary, a spurious utilitarianism reigned supreme in literature, and fancy and imagination were told to fold their wings, and travel only in the dusty paths of everyday life. Fairy tales, and all such flights into the region of the supernatural, were then condemned as merely idle things, or as pernicious occupations for faculties that should be always directed to serious and profitable concerns. But now we have cast off that pedantic folly, let us hope forever. We now acknowledge that innocent amusement is good for its own sake, and we do not affect to prove our advance in civilization by our incapacity to relish those sportive creations of unrestricted fancy that have been the delight of every generation in every land from times beyond the reach of history.

    The materials of the following collection have been carefully chosen from more than a hundred volumes of the fairy lore of all nations; and none of them, so far as the Editor was aware, had been previously translated into English. 

    Actually, all these stories were originally oral and passed along verbally because there were no printing presses or books at the time. In addition to storytellers of one kind or another going back several thousands of years BC, a primary way of communication was by drawing pictures of whatever mental images they were trying to make known. Many of the stories varied widely in content because they existed in tribal fashion from many corners of the world.

    The joys and wonders of the marvelous world of imagination obviously cannot be magically gathered into an explainable package, so it’s best to issue an invitation to hear the fascinating and fanciful tales of yesteryear, no matter where or how they existed.

  • Three very successful series of stories aimed at children and teens were created by a man who had a book packaging house and didn’t want to cause confusion. So, none of the stories ever had his name on them. Instead, Edward Stratemeyer hired several writers and provided them with story ideas that were then published under the pseudonym Victor Appleton. They were tales of the adventures of a teenager named Tom Swift. He was portrayed as a youngster who didn’t have a lot of formal education but was inventive and science minded. This led to more than one hundred volumes with a variety of broad-ranging adventures and creative ideas placing emphasis on invention, science and technology.

    Stratemeyer later came up with successful stories about The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. It is said the fertile Stratemeyer imagination often found him jotting down a short page of notes involving plots and assigning a stable of about a half-dozen writers to fill in the blanks. The Hardy Boys were amateur detectives often able to solve various cases when solutions eluded grownup professionals. First appearance of the female counterpart Nancy Drew series first appeared in 1930 and ran for nearly three-quarters of a century. We listen now to Tom Swift with one of his top inventions.

  • This story is about the birth of a prince. He was actually in line to be the next king replacing his father. However, he was accidentally injured at his christening, was crippled, and couldn’t walk. He was banished by an evil uncle, who usurped the throne. The little prince became unhappy and worried, but his discomfort was eased by his magical fairy godmother, and he eventually took over the monarchy he had been born to govern.

  • The words of Kahlil Gibran give his book The Prophet a broad range of inspiration and philosophy. They provide exceptional insight into human desires and understanding. The vivid observations are vibrant with feeling and acceptance of life’s many questions and hopes. One review saluted the story as being untouched by the harshness of life. Gibran’s other two books, The Forerunner and The Madman, are of deep assistance in the same manner.