The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber.

The 13 Clocks was written in 1950 by James Thurber, it uses obsessive wordplay and contains the analogy  ‘It came down the stairs looking exactly like something that no one had ever seen before’

 It also has this description of the terrifying Todal..

“looks like a blob of glup … makes a sound like rabbits screaming and smells of old unopened rooms … an agent of the Devil, sent to punish evildoers for having done less evil than they should.” The Todal – The 13 Clocks, James Thurber.

The story involves countless fairytale tropes but involves impossible quests and people laughing jewels and that disappear. Lovely stuff.

From wiki..

By the time he wrote this book, Thurber was blind, so he could not draw cartoons for the book, as he had done with The White Deer five years earlier. He enlisted his friend Marc Simont to illustrate the original edition. The Golux is said to wear an “indescribable hat”. Thurber made Simont describe all his illustrations, and was satisfied when Simont was unable to describe the hat. When it was reissued by Puffin Books, it was illustrated by Ronald Searle. The book has been reprinted by The New York Review Children’s Collection, with original illustrations by Marc Simont and an introduction by Neil Gaiman

Mark Simont also illustrated The First Christmas By Robbie Trent which has an image of Mary. Mary is the name of the lady in my story. I like connections such as these.

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