The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby is a children's novel by the Reverend Charles Kingsley. Written in 1862-1863 as a serial for Macmillan's Magazine, it was first published in its entirety in 1863. The book was extremely popular during its day, and was a mainstay of children's literature through the 1920s.
Charles Kingsley (1819 - 1875) led quite a wild life at university but, in 1842, he followed in his father's footsteps and was ordained as a priest. He was a Christian Socialist and spent his life campaigning for such things as better education for girls, and improving the living conditions of the working class. Victorian society was very inflexible and Kingsley was soon branded as a radical. His patriotic attitude to the Crimean War (1854 - 6), made him acceptable again and he became Chaplain to Queen Victoria. Later, royal influence led to his appointment as a Professor of History at Cambridge University. During his `out of favour' years he was a devoted priest in Hampshire and put his beliefs into practice. His work as a parish priest and his lecture tours as a Christian Socialist, always came first, leaving his writing to take second place.