Filled with weird and unconventional tales, Lord Dunsany's The Book of Wonder draws the reader from their own world and into a foreign reality. One of the more obscure tales of the work is "Miss Cubbidge and The Dragon of Romance." In this work, the eighteen-year-old daughter of a newly elected man of power, Miss Cubbidge, becomes the captive of "a loathsome dragon with golden scales that rattled as he went." After being whisked away to the dragon's native land, she begins to accept her life there.

If at first she missed those dainty novelties among which she was reared, the old sufficient song of the mystical sea singing of faery lore at first soothed and at last consoled her. Even, she forgot those advertisements of pills that are so dear to England; even, she forgot political cant and the things that one discusses and the things that one does not, and had perforce to contend herself with seeing sailing by huge golden-laden galleons with treasure for Madrid, and the merry skull-and-crossbones of the pirateers, and the tiny nautilus setting out to sea, and ships of heroes trafficking in romance or of princes seeking for enchanted isles.

As the spell of the dragon binds her to this place and prevents her from aging, Miss Cubbidge goes on living without external contact from her former home until something finally breaches her solitude.

And only once did there ever come to her a message from the world of old she knew. It came in a pearly ship across the mystical sea; it was from an old school-friend that she had had in Putney, merely a note, no more, in a little, neat, round hand: it said, "It is not Proper for you to be there alone."

Discussion Questions

1. What elements of this story are fantastic? Do they differ from the fantastic elements used in some of the other stories of this work?

2. Does ending seem out of place for a Dunsany work? Is there a reason for this?

3. It has been suggested in class that many of the stories have morals or themes. Does this story have one? If so, what is it?

4. Why would Dunsany take time to mention that Cubbidge forgot political cant and advertisements?

Last modified 5 April 2004