THE STORY OF THE THREE BEARS. C—J—del. Rob. Hart sc.
London: Porter and Wright, 60, Pall-Mall, 1837. , vi, 29  pages; plus 11 full-page engraved plates. Original pictorial paper-covered boards. Oblong 8vo. 110 x 142 mm. First separate edition. Spine repaired; boards rather rubbed; small paper repair to the blank margin of the last plate; else a very good, clean copy. Rare first separate edition of this classic children's tale. The Osborne Collection has only the later edition of 1841, which combines the story with two others. The Story of the Three Bears was first recorded in narrative form and published by English author and poet Robert Southey, appearing in a volume of his writings, entitled The Doctor in 1837. The same year, George Nicol published this version in rhyme based on Southey's prose tale, having obtained Southey's blessing to try and bring the story more exposure. Both versions tell of three bears and an old woman who trespasses upon their property. It wasn't until twelve years after the publication of Southey's tale that Joseph Cundall transformed the antagonist from an ugly old woman to a pretty little girl in his Treasury of Pleasure Books for Young Children published in 1849.