In "The Hoard of the Gibbelins" from The Book of Wonder, Lord Dunsany depicts the world where men and creatures known as Gibbelins live. The Gibbelins eat men, but they do not hunt. Their prey come to them. "The Hoard of the Gibbelins" entertains the reader with the story of how the main character tries to steal the Gibbelins' hoard and inevitably faces his doom. In addition, throughout the narrative, the author manages to raise issues such as human nature, greed, and desire.

Alderic, Knight of the Order of the City and the Assault, hereditary Guardian of the King's Peace of Mind, a man not unremembered among makers of myth, pondered so long upon the Gibbelins' hoard that by now he deemed it his. Alas that I should say of so perilous a venture, undertaken at dead of night by a valourous man, that its motive was sheer avarice! Yet upon avarice only the Gibblins relied to keep their larders full, and once in every hundred years sent spies into the cities of men to see how avarice did, and always the spies returned again to the tower saying that all was well.

Although the Gibbelins possess an incredible amount of wealth, they use it only "to attract to their larder a continual supply of food." On the other hand, many men place material values on their hoard. Their prey lured to them by avarice, "the Gibbelins lived and descreditably fed." Even though men who venture into their tower never come back, and fear should stop most men from trying like their predecessors, "the Gibbelins found otherwise."

Discussion Questions

1. The Gibblins sent spies to see "how avarice did." Why does the author personify "avarice"?

2. The author does not really explain how Alderic begins to deem the Gibbelins' hoard his. Why?

3. Do you agree that in The Hoard of the Gibbelins, men whom the Gibblins eat are victims of their own actions? What role do the Gibblins serve in this story?

4. Why does the author emphasize that Alderic's motive is "sheer avarice"?

Last modified 5 April 2004