Through Woods Of Eerie Names


Gillian Edwards (1974) ISBN: 0713807105

Hobgoblin and Sweet Puck is one of those books that I’ve picked up a couple times in libraries but just managed somehow to read the wrong passages, then put it down again with an odd feeling that I ought to want to read it, but didn’t in particular.

This is a pity and I now wish I’d read this book a very long time ago. The last time I flicked through Hobgoblin and Sweet Puck I read some of the section on the many uses of the word ‘bug’, as in furriers cant where ‘bugging’ was mixing poorer quality fur in with good quality fur for hats. Bug is of course a word for goblin, as in bugbear or bugaboo, but the book didn’t seem to dwell much on goblins from my brief reads.

Ah, if only I had simply started at the start and read it through, which is what I did this time. This is a beautifully woven, intelligent and deeply researched piece of work. Why no fantasy writer has not already plundered the categories used in the book for fantasy races that would be similar but not exactly quite the same as the Tolkienesque peoples is beyond me. I suppose I will get around to doing that myself if I find time.

At any rate, the book is divided into thirteen chapters each covering a loose type of fairy such as Oafs, Imps and Urchins or Pookas, Pucks and Pixies. I note now with interest that Gillian Edwards also wrote Uncumber and Pantaloon: Some Words With Stories and Hogmanay and Tiffany: The Names of Feasts and Fasts. I shall be hunting those up now shortly and reading them as soon as they arrive I expect.

About Christopher Johnstone

Christopher Johnstone lives in Melbourne
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