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One of the strongest pieces of imaginative writing for children that the past decade has produced and one of the most delicate and beautiful of all times, is "The Blue Bird," by Maurice Maeterlinck, written as a play, and very successfully produced on the stage.

Georgette Leblanc (Madame Maurice Maeterlinck), has rendered this play in story form for children, under the title "The Children's Blue Bird," and in this form it has now been carefully edited and arranged for schools.

Maurice Maeterlinck was born in Ghent, Belgium, August 29, 1862. Although trained for the practice of the law and moderately successful in it, he very early became dissatisfied with the prospect of a career at the bar. In 1887, the young man moved to Paris and turned his attention to writing. Shortly after, at the death of his father, Maeterlinck returned to Belgium where he has since resided most of the time. His career as an author practically began in 1889, when he published two plays. At this time he was quite unknown, except to a small circle, but soon, because of his remarkable originality, we find him being called "The Belgian Shakespeare," and his reputation firmly established.

Amidst his Belgian roses he continued to work and dream, and upon his youthful dreams he built his plays. They are all shadowy, brief transcripts of emotion, and illustrate beautifully his unity of purpose, of mood and of thought. Whether in philosophy, drama or poetry, Maeterlinck is exclusively occupied in revealing or indicating the mystery which lies only just out of sight beneath the ordinary life. In order to produce this effect of the mysterious he aims at extreme simplicity of style and a very realistic symbolism. He allows life itself to astonish us by its strangeness, by its inexplicable elements. Many of his plays are really pathetic records of unseen emotions.

Of all his writings, it is conceded that "The Blue Bird" makes the strongest appeal to children. Maeterlinck has always had much in common with the young. He has the child's mysticism and awe of the unknown, the same delight in mechanical inventions, the same gift of "making believe."

In "The Blue Bird" Maeterlinck takes little account of external fact. All along he has kept the child's capacity for wonder; all along he has preserved youth's freshness of heart. He has, therefore, never lost the key which unlocks the sympathies of childhood; he still possesses the passport that makes him free of the kingdom of Fairyland.

"The Blue Bird" will forever live among Maeterlinck's greatest works and will linger long in the memory of all children, continuing throughout their lives to symbolize that ideal of ideals, true happiness,—the happiness that comes from right seeking.

This story of "The Blue Bird" may remind one somewhat of "Hansel and Gretel," for here Maeterlinck, like Grimm, shows to us the adventures of two peasant children as they pass through regions of enchantment where they would be at the mercy of treacherous foes, but for the aid of a supernatural friend. But the originality, the charm and the interest of "The Blue Bird" depend on the way in which the author, while adapting his language and his legends to the intelligence of youthful readers, manages to show them the wonders and romance of Nature. He enlists among his characters a whole series of inanimate objects, such as Bread, Sugar, Milk, Light, Water, Fire and Trees, besides the Cat, the Dog and other animals, investing them all with individuality,—making for instance, with characteristic bias, the Dog the faithful friend of his boy and girl companions and the Cat their stealthy enemy.

KIDS

We may not understand his characters, we may not be informed whence they came or whither they move; there is nothing concrete or circumstantial about them; their life is intense and consistent, but it is wholly in a spiritual character. They are mysterious with the mystery of the movements of the soul.

All through the story we are led to feel that Maeterlinck's spirit is one of grave and disinterested attachment to the highest moral beauty, and his seriousness, his serenity and his extreme originality impress even those who are bewildered by his graces and his mysticism.

"The Blue Bird" will forever live among Maeterlinck's greatest works and will linger long in the memory of all children, continuing throughout their lives to symbolize that ideal of ideals, true happiness,—the happiness that comes from right seeking.

SENIOR

"The Blue Bird" will forever live among Maeterlinck's greatest works and will linger long in the memory of all children, continuing throughout their lives to symbolize that ideal of ideals, true happiness,—the happiness that comes from right seeking.

All through the story we are led to feel that Maeterlinck's spirit is one of grave and disinterested attachment to the highest moral beauty, and his seriousness, his serenity and his extreme originality impress even those who are bewildered by his graces and his mysticism.