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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Magical Justice (The Enchanted World)


By the Editors of Time-Life Books

Publisher: Time Life Education; First Printing edition (November 1, 1986)

Hardcover, 143 pages

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“Men and women dreaded the prospect of invasion by these forces of chaos. They craved order and harmony, a hierarchy wherein every entity - animal, vegetable, mineral, or spiritual - knew its place and obligations. To protect the world from contamination, humans constructed a bulwark of laws governing every aspect of their existence. Their code was a safety net woven of many different strands: native kindness and common sense, priestly interpretations of divine will, diktats devised by Kings to keep themselves and their heirs in power, percepts dimly recalled from the days when elder races ruled the earth.” 

Volume 16 of the Enchanted World series focuses on the dubious term of Magical Justice. While I have said that previous volumes seemed like filler titles to group together old stories left out of previous volumes, in this case there is no doubt. Not that the stories are boring or uninteresting, nor does this volume shirk on its art budget. However, the theme is stretched thin and so ambiguous that nearly anything could fit. In fact, one tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes” has nothing to do with magic at all. 

On the other hand, this is a great collection of old folk tales from all across the world. Some are very familiar - “The Tale of King Midas” “Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven” - while many others “A Celestial Usurper”, “The Beggar’s Bride” were new and refreshing. The lack of rhyme or reason in this volume actually frees it to take the best from every culture and every time. And the book is better for it. 

  For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst

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