We should begin with the words of Lord Dunsany, an Irish peer and noted chronicler of “small adventures on the edge of the world.” In 1912, he published a brief factual essay containing this description of us:
The Gibbelins eat, as is well known, nothing less good than man. Their evil tower is joined to Terra Cognita, to the lands we know, by a bridge. Their hoard is beyond reason; avarice has no use for it; they have a separate cellar for emeralds and a separate cellar for sapphires; they have filled a hole with gold and dig it up when they need it. And the only use that is known for their ridiculous wealth is to attract to their larder a continual supply of food. In times of famine they have even been known to scatter rubies abroad, a little trail of them to some city of Man, and sure enough their larders would soon be full again.
If you wish to understand the Gibbelins, that is a good beginning. We would certainly recommend the full essay, as well as many of Lord Dunsany’s other informative histories. However, as exceptional and delicious a scholar as Lord Dunsany was, like all humans, he had his own limitations and biases.
Attracting food is hardly the ‘only use’ of our great wealth. We have many other schemes that Lord Dunsany knew nothing of. For instance, we enjoy gradually investing unimaginably immense sums of money in the stock market – and then withdrawing all of it very suddenly. It seems to make the humans quite distressed.
One might imagine that such tactics, which display so neatly the ephemeral and inconstant nature of wealth, might in time erode the human tendency towards avarice. That would be a dangerous thing indeed, since we depend on avarice for our bread and butter (so to speak). But we find the opposite to be true. No matter how fragile the nature of wealth proves to be, humans only lust for it more, with ever more disregard for the well-being of their fellow man. These days, our larders are never empty.
We also like to bid on obscure relics of Jane Austen. We love Mr. Darcy.
At this point, you may be getting curious about some of the more specific details of our existence, such as what we look like or how we move around. For those answers, we suggest that you come and see for yourself. As you know, our tower always welcomes visitors. Stop by around lunchtime, or dinner if you prefer. We’re feeling peckish.