Andrew Lang was born in Selkirk in 1844, and educated at the universities of St Andrews and Oxford. He studied the classics, writing versions of the Odyssey and the Iliad. He lived and worked in London for most of his life, as a journalist – he was for many years the literary editor of Longman’s Magazine – and as a respected literary critic. He was a folklorist, a scholar of myths and religion, and contributed to the study of anthropology. Perhaps best known today for his collections of fairy stories, his first publication was in verse: Ballads and Lyrics of Old France (1872). It was followed by half a dozen other collections of rhymes and ballads.