The Book of Wonder, written by Lord Dunsany, tells a series of strange fantastical tales. The "Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweler" and "How Nuth Would Have Practised His Art Upon the Gnoles" tell stories about renowned burglars who attempt to rob fantastic creatures.

When Thangobrind the jeweller heard the ominous cough, he turned at once upon that narrow way. A thief was he, of very high repute, being patronized by the lofty and elect, for he stole nothing smaller than the Moomoo's egg, and in all his life stole only four kinds of stone — the ruby, the diamond, the emerald, and the sapphire; and, as jewellers go, his honesty was great.

Thangobrind attempts to rob Hlo-hlo, who puts "that venturous jeweler in his place" and Thangobrind meets "the doom that he feared." This story of a burglary gone wrong compares to that of "How Nuth Would Have Practised His Art Upon the Gnoles." In it, the renowned burglar Mr. Nuth begins training an apprentice named Tooker. When they try to rob the gnoles together Tooker "descended softly" among the trees. The gnoles "picked him up from behind" and take him away to meet his end.

Questions

How does Dunsany's use of names compare to the techniques used by LeGuin and some of the other fantastic writers we have studied?

Dunsany portrays his characters in a very positive light with phrases such as "of high repute." Why does he often describe his burglars in such an approving fashion?

Many of Dunsany's main characters make a living by means of burglary. Is Dunsany's decision to do this a comment of the greed of mankind?


Victorian Web Overview Lord Dunsany Discussion Questions Fantasy

Last modified 5 April 2004