Lord Dunsany's Book of Wonder includes a collection of peculiar fantastical stories. Some of his stories include "The Wonderful Window," "How Nuth Would Have Practised His Art Upon The Gnoles," and "Distressing Tale of Thangobrind The Jeweller." One tale, "The Hoard of the Gibbelins" speaks of the adventure of Alderic, a man longing to venture to the Hoard. However, the dwelling of the Gibbelins is no place for men.

The Gibbelins eat, as is well known, nothing less good than man. Their evil tower is joined to Terra Cognita, to the lands we know, by a bridge. Their hoard is beyond reason; avarice has no use for it; they have a separate cellar for emeralds and a separate cellar for sapphires; they have filled a hole with gold and dig it up when they need it. And the only use that is known for their ridiculous wealth is to attract to their larder a continual supply of food. In times of famine they have even been known to scatter rubies abroad, a little trail of them to some city of Man, and sure enough their larders would soon be full again.

Despite the dangers and warnings, Alderic decides to journey to the forbidden hoard. Many cheered for him "that day when he mounted his dragon, as though he was already a conqueror." But unfortunately his journey came to an unfortunate end as the Gibbelins "neatly hanged him on the outer wall."

Questions

1. Why does Lord Dunsany chose to have men as prey?

2. How do the Gibbelins compare to other fantastical creatures we've seen in other fantasies?

3. Why would Lord Dunsany choose to not to have a happy ending?

4. Can Alderic be considered a hero? How does his character resemble other fantasy characters?


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Last modified 5 April 2004