There's always a story behind the story, but the keenest observers have to break through the surface to reach it. This remarkable book reveals the hidden meaning behind familiar images and words, from the origins of Santa Claus and the meaning of Cinderella's name to the metaphoric significance of the unicorn and the fleur-de-lys.
A prominent authority on symbols, author Harold Bayley spent years gathering and compiling the contents of this volume. Mythology, folklore, religious texts, and fairy tales from around the world constitute his primary sources. Bayley also draws upon the secret traditions of ancient cultures and medieval mystical sects to deconstruct the symbols embedded in watermarks and printers' emblems. Most of these images have lost their earliest significance and now serve strictly commercial purposes; Bayley explains their original meanings, and he cross-references similarities between symbols and stories across the globe to illuminate their evolving cultural significance. More than 1,400 illustrations enhance this classic work, which features an index for ease of reference.