The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Lord Dunsany’s stories in A Dreamer’s Tales present readers with a remarkable vista of strange realms and fantastic creatures. Most of the sixteen stories are set in the fabulous Land of Dreams, a domain of beautiful cities and endless wonders. A few tales are set in London or during Earth’s ancient history, but these still fall firmly in the realm of the fantastic. From “Poltarnees, Beholder of Ocean” to “The Unhappy Body,” Lord Dunsany creates a series of stories set in fantastic realms with fascinating characters and enchanting settings.

Several of Lord Dunsany’s stories are set in the Land of Dreams or in another fantasy world. The first story, “Poltarnees, Beholder of Ocean,” is set in a valley where four kingdoms are isolated from the ocean. To discover the reason behind the disappearance of many young men from the kingdoms, the kings offer Athelvok, a hunter, a beautiful princess, Hilnaric, as his wife if he can return from looking upon the ocean. Athelvok fails in his mission when the voice of the sea seduces him into staying by the ocean. Another tale, “Bethmoora,” deals with the mysterious abandonment of a fabulous city in the Land of Dreams. A story that appears later in the book, “The Hashish Man,” reveals the true reason for the abandonment of Bethmoora. In this tale, a dreamer tells of his discovery of how the sinister emperor, Thuba Mleen, caused Bethmoora to be abandoned through his advice to leave...

(The entire section is 482 words.)