Idle Days on the Yann (fiction)
A prose poem describing a river voyage through the Dreamlands; there is no actual plot - the story simply follows the poet's journey down the River Yann from the moment he steps foot into the Land of Dream and boards a merchant ship, through a series of vivid descriptions of a number of beautiful, ominous, and mysterious places, and experiences in exotic cities along the river, until the poet parts ways with the ship at the sea.
Comments / Trivia
- This is the original Dreamlands story, later imitated in pastiche by H.P. Lovecraft.
- There are two sequels, "A Shop in Go-By Street (fiction)", and "The Avenger of Perdondaris (fiction)"; in many collections, the three stories appear together under the title Beyond the Fields We Know.
Associated Mythos Elements
Tomes and Artifacts:
Campaigns / Scenarios: Dreamlands
Loose Threads and CLUFFS
From Solar System Heritage: "Cute Little Unfulfilled Fragments of Fascination: [Pulp] literature is prone to these little tantalising snippets, delightful digressions, frustratingly not followed up, which tempt one to wonder at unanswered questions."
- Numerous - the story is filled with hints at peculiar and exotic cities, peoples, customs, and creatures which are never explored in the story. Dunsany follows up on a couple of these fragments in the sequels, but the sequels present more new mysteries than they clear up. See River Yann for a sample.
- Dunsany's Dream tales, especially the sequels, also hint in conversations at the mysterious mechanics of Dream, which likewise leave more questions than they answer; see Dreaming for details.
- Dunsany's Dreamlands stories are a slightly different "flavor" of Dreamlands story from Lovecraft's, being somewhat less terrifying (though hints of horror and Weirdness are still present) and more ethereal and playful; many critics find Dunsany's Dreamlands stories to be superior to Lovecraft's, and Keepers may find Dunsany's tales to be a great source of inspiration for Dreamlands tone, atmosphere, and stories.
- Dunsany's description of the River Yann and its surroundings suggest some excellent settings for strange Dream adventures, offering plenty of unanswered questions that can serve as "hooks" for entire scenarios and campaigns.
Link to outside reviews or helpful pages.
- Archived with its two sequels as Beyond the Fields We Know in the collection Tales of Three Hemispheres by Lord Dunsany in ebook format by Project Gutenberg: (link)
- Dunsany's "The Gods of Pegana (fiction)" is similar in tone, and also archived at Project Gutenberg (link); the stories originally appeared with the exotic and surreal illustrations of Sidney Sime, which can be viewed at the "Monster Brains" blog (link); both the stories and the illustrations were among Lovecraft's inspirations.