In his foreword to The Thirteen Clocks, Thurber says that he wrote the story in a fit of escapism and self-indulgence, but then also says, "Unless modem Man wanders down these byways occasionally, I do not see how he can hope to preserve his sanity."
The Thirteen Clocks is a delightful fairy tale filled with magic and absurdity, swordplay and wordplay. In this fantasy, the invincible prince, Zorn of Zorna, rescues Saralinda, a radiant princess, from the cold-hearted Duke who stole her when she was a baby. Within this light-hearted story is a serious moral lesson. There are coldhearted forces in the real world that, like the evil Duke, try to grasp power by belittling love and imagination, self-indulgence and escapism. Thurber wants to release the reader from those forces into simple mental recreation. This tale opens the byways of play and turns the reader loose upon them.
(The entire section is 148 words.)