Paul Biegel

Night Story

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!’

In Night Story Paul Biegel proves himself a master storyteller and a linguistic virtuoso.

De Leeswelp

Read Night Story aloud and you’ll feel as if you’re dancing: a dance with words, the rhythm and tempo set by the sentences.

NRC Handelsblad

Paul Biegel

Paul Biegel (1925-2006) dreamed of becoming a pianist, but finally, by way of a failed law degree and a period spent in the USA, ended up as a writer for a television guide and a cartoon studio. In 1962 he debuted as a children’s author with De gouden gitaar (The Golden Guitar). A new book…

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Nachtverhaal (1992). Children's books, 160 pages.
Words: 39,000

Themes: classic



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Fax: +31 23 527 44 04

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