The Book Of Wonder by Lord Dunsany
Most fantasy enthusiasts consider Lord Dunsany one of the most significant forces in modern fantasy; his influences have been observed in the works of H.P. Lovecraft, L. Sprague de Camp, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, and many other modern writers. The Book of Wonder is Dunsany at his peak of his talent. The stories here are a lush tapestry of language, conjuring images of people, places, and things which cannot possibly exist, yet somehow ring true. They are, in short, full of wonder. Together with Dunsany's other major collections, A Dreamer's Tales and Tales of Three Hemispheres, they are a necessary part of any fantasy collection.
"Not only does any tale which crosshatches between this world and Faerie owe a Founder's Debt to Lord Dunsany, but the secondary world created by J.R.R. Tolkien--from which almost all fantasylands have devolved--also took shape and flower from Dunsany's example." --The Encyclopedia of Fantasy