The Shetland Encyclopaedia informs that the author of the book that is substantially abridged and retold here, George Stewart (1825-1911), was born in the parish of Sandwick. His father was also an author.
When George was fifteen, he was appointed as teacher to the school at Vatchley. Later, after working as a clerk and a draughtsman, he and his brother began an import and export concern that thrived for thirty years.
He settled at Over Gogar House and engaged in philanthropic activity. Then, in 1892 he emigrated to British Columbia, and died on Vancouver Island at the age of 86.
Stewart's book was first published in Edinburgh in 1877, and republished in 1882 (239 pages long) and in 1923. Peter Jamieson wrote in 1949:
The Fireside Tales contain perhaps the most complete narrative of many aspects of Shetland crofting and fishing life and work, with descriptions of the people's amusements, songs, tales, superstitions and beliefs ever written.