Fifty-One Tales is one of the many collections of short stories published by Lord Dunsany. It was first published in both the US and UK in 1915. Almost all of Dunsany's works are short stories but the Fifty-One Tales takes the cake for brevity. Most tales are a page or less and cover such diverse topics as the doing of the barnyard's poultry to the end of the world. While the tales are hardly morbid there is a sense of futility running through most of them. Time returns destroying empires and dragging people from their cradles to their grave and he's now joined by Death to the usual effect. Folly harries the hare, Wind and Fog compete for the destruction of ships, and the Puritan discovers his sins a bit too late. Despite all of that the whimsy and cheer counterbalance it rather nicely.

Here's the fifty-one tales:

The Assignation


The Death of Pan

The Sphinx at Giza

The Hen

Wind and Fog

The Raft-Builders

The Workman

The Guest

Death and Odysseus

Death and the Orange

The Prayer of the Flower

Time and the Tradesman

The Little City

The Unpasturable Fields

The Worm and the Angel

The Songless Country

The Latest Thing

The Demagogue and the Demi-monde

The Giant Poppy


The Man With the Golden Ear-rings

The Dream of King Karna-Vootra

The Storm

A Mistaken Identity

The True History of the Hare and the Tortoise

Alone the Immortals

A Moral Little Tale

The Return of Song

Spring In Town

How the Enemy Came to Thlunrana

A Losing Game

Taking Up Picadilly

After the Fire

The City

The Food of Death

The Lonely Idol

The Sphinx in Thebes (Massachusetts)

The Reward

The Trouble in Leafy Green Street

The Mist


Lobster Salad

The Return of the Exiles

Nature and Time

The Song of the Blackbird

The Messengers

The Three Tall Sons


What We Have Come To

The Tomb of Pan