Enchanting classic about a household gnome and a storytelling fairy
In an old doll’s house stored in an attic lives a gnome. Every evening he tours the house to check the candles have been blown out, and on Saturdays he plays cards with Toad and Rat, the grouchy couple living in the basement. Then one stormy night he’s visited by a fairy with torn wings.
At first he’s scared by her magic tricks, but then, like Scheherazade in One Thousand and One Nights, she starts telling her adventurous story. Every night the gnome eagerly listens to more about her search for a husband, offspring and death.
Biegel works profound subjects into his fairytale: our ability to love, to have children and to die. Unlike humans, the fairy is immortal, eternally marking time. She longs for the life of a mortal creature.
Yet with its humour and thrills, and its rich, animated language, Night Story is not a heavy book. Biegel enjoys alliteration, rhythmical repetition, exaggeration and invented words. This is the goblin Urukuu, coming out of the ground and seeing blue sky for the first time: ‘“What a wonderful lid on the world! And everything fits under it perfectly!” He looked and looked, so green were the trees, so yellow the dandelions, although one beech was red. Such beautility, such beautility!’