Thursday, August 18, 2016

Overview: Ryder. Twenty-Two Goblins

(illustration from the book)

Title: Twenty-Two Goblins
Author: Arthur Ryder
Illustrations: Perham W. Nahl
Year: 1917

Comments: This is Arthur Ryder's delightful English translation of the Sanskrit classic, Vetāla-pañca-viṃśati. The stories in this book are tales told by a goblin, or vetala in Sanskrit, a supernatural creature that inhabits human corpses. The audience for the goblin's stories is a wise king who is attempting to capture one of these goblin-inhabited corpses; as he is toting the corpse back to his palace, the goblin tells paradoxical stories that each end with a riddling question which the king must answer. See if you can find the answers as easily as the king does!

Free Online: See all the links, including a free audiobook, at Freebookapalooza.

Length: three weeks. I've divided the reading into six parts: Part A - Part B (one week of reading), Part C - Part D (another week of reading), and Part E - Part F (a third week).

To make sure you get the beginning and ending of the story of the king, here is how to use this book:
  • For one week of reading, read Part A and Part F.
  • For two weeks of reading, read Part A and Part F plus any other two parts.
  • For three weeks of reading, read Parts A-B-C-D-E-F

Reading Part A:
First Goblin: The Prince's Elopement. Whose fault was the resulting death of his parents-in-law?
Second Goblin: The Three Lovers who brought the Dead Girl to Life. Whose wife should she be?
Third Goblin: The Parrot and the Thrush. Which are worse, men or women?

Reading Part B:
Fourth Goblin: King Shudraka and Hero's Family. Which of the five deserves the most honour?
Fifth Goblin: The Brave Man, the Wise Man, and the Clever Man. To which should the girl be given?
Sixth Goblin: The Girl who transposed the Heads of her Husband and Brother. Which combination of head and body is her husband?
Seventh Goblin: The Mutual Services of King Fierce-lion and Prince Good. Which is the more deserving?

Reading Part C:
Eighth Goblin: The Specialist in Food, the Specialist in Women, and the Specialist in Cotton. Which is the cleverest?
Ninth Goblin: The Four Scientific Suitors. To which should the girl be given?
Tenth Goblin: The Three Delicate Wives of King Virtue-banner. Which is the most delicate?
Eleventh Goblin: The King who won a Fairy as his Wife. Why did his counsellor's heart break?

Reading Part D:
Twelfth Goblin: The Brahman who died because Poison from a Snake in the Claws of a Hawk fell into a Dish of Food given him by a Charitable Woman. Who is to blame for his death?
Thirteenth Goblin: The Girl who showed Great Devotion to the Thief. Did he weep or laugh?
Fourteenth Goblin: The Man who changed into a Woman at Will. Was his wife his or the other man's?

Reading Part E:
Fifteenth Goblin: The Fairy Prince Cloud-chariot and the Serpent Shell-crest. Which is the more self-sacrificing?
Sixteenth Goblin: The King who died for Love of his General's Wife; the General follows him in Death. Which is the more worthy?
Seventeenth Goblin: The Youth who went through the Proper Ceremonies. Why did he fail to win the magic spell?

Reading Part F:
Eighteenth Goblin: The Boy whom his Parents, the King, and the Giant conspired to Kill. Why did he laugh at the moment of death?
Nineteenth Goblin: The Man, his Wife, and her Lover, who all died for Love. Which was the most foolish?
Twentieth Goblin: The Four Brothers who brought a Dead Lion to Life. Which is to blame when he kills them all?
Twenty-first Goblin: The Old Hermit who exchanged his Body for that of the Dead Boy. Why did he weep and dance?
Twenty-second Goblin: The Father and Son who married Daughter and Mother. What relation were their children?

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