Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales.
Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—the collection of fairy tales known to hide information about the peculiar world, including clues to the locations of time loops—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.
Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories in this deluxe volume of Tales of the Peculiar. Featuring stunning illustrations from world-renowned artist Andrew Davidson, this compelling, rich, and truly peculiar anthology is the perfect gift for not only fans, but for all lovers of great storytelling.
About the Author
Ransom Riggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children novels. Riggs was born ona farm in Maryland and grew up in southern Florida. He studied literature at Kenyon College and film at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, bestselling author Tahereh Mafi.
Andrew Davidson graduated from the Royal College of Art with a Masters in Graphic Design. Davidson has worked as an illustrator in a number of different disciplines, but craft and design have always been the cornerstones of his work. His varied career has included wood engravings for The Iron Man byTed Hughes, more than twelve sets of stamps for The Royal Mail, and the glass etched doors for the Centre Court at Wimbledon. He is married to his wife Julia, and has two sons, Lewis and Hugh.
Read an Excerpt
The Splendid Cannibals
The peculiars in the village of Swampmuck lived very modestly. They were farmers, and though they didn’t own fancy things and lived in flimsy houses made of reeds, they were healthy and joyful and wanted for little. Food grew bountifully in their gardens, clean water ran in the streams, and even their humble homes seemed like luxuries because the weather in Swampmuck was so fair, and the villagers were so devoted to their work that many, after a long day of mucking, would simply lie down and sleep in their swamps.
Harvest was their favorite time of year. Working round the clock, they gathered the best weeds that had grown in the swamp that season, bundled them onto donkey carts, and drove their bounty to the market town of Chipping Whippet, a five days’ ride, to sell what they could. It was difficult work. The swampweed was rough and tore their hands. The donkeys were ill-tempered and liked to bite. The road to market was pitted with holes and plagued by thieves. There were often grievous accidents, such as when Farmer Pullman, in a fit of overzealous harvesting, accidentally scythed off his neighbor’s leg. The neighbor, Farmer Hayworth, was understandably upset, but the villagers were such agreeable people that all was soon forgiven. The money they earned at market was paltry but enough to buy necessities and some rations of goat-rump besides, and with that rare treat as their centerpiece they threw a raucous festival that went on for days.
That very year, just after the festival had ended and the villagers were about to return to their toil in the swamps, three visitors arrived. Swampmuck rarely had visitors of any kind, as it was not the sort of place people wanted to visit, and it had certainly never had visitors like these: two men and a lady dressed head to toe in lush brocaded silk, riding on the backs of three fine Arabian horses. But though the visitors were obviously rich, they looked emaciated and swayed weakly in their bejeweled saddles.
The villagers gathered around them curiously, marveling at their beautiful clothes and horses.
“Don’t get too close!” Farmer Sally warned. “They look as if they might be sick.”
“We’re on a journey to the coast of Meek,” explained one of the visitors, a man who seemed to be the only one strong enough to speak. “We were accosted by bandits some weeks ago, and, though we were able to outrun them, we got badly lost. We’ve been turning circles ever since, looking for the old Roman Road.”
“You’re nowhere near the Roman Road,” said Farmer Sally.
“Or the coast of Meek,” said Farmer Pullman.
“How far is it?” the visitor asked.
“Six days’ ride,” answered Farmer Sally.
“We’ll never make it,” the man said darkly.
At that, the silk-robed lady slumped in her saddle and fell to the ground.
The villagers, moved to compassion despite their concerns about disease, brought the fallen lady and her companions into the nearest house. They were given water and made comfortable in beds of straw, and a dozen villagers crowded around them offering help.
“Give them space!” said Farmer Pullman. “They’re exhausted; they need rest!”
“No, they need a doctor!” said Farmer Sally.
“We aren’t sick,” the man said. “We’re hungry. Our supplies ran out over a week ago, and we haven’t had a bite to eat since then.”
Farmer Sally wondered why such wealthy people hadn’t simply bought food from fellow travelers on the road, but she was too polite to ask. Instead, she ordered some village boys to run and fetch bowls of swampweed soup and millet bread and what little goat-rump was left over from the festival—but when it was laid before the visitors, they turned the food away.
“I don’t mean to be rude,” said the man, “but we can’t eat this.”
“I know it’s a humble spread,” said Farmer Sally, “and you’re probably used to feasts fit for kings, but it’s all we have.”
“It isn’t that,” the man said. “Grains, vegetables, animal meat—our bodies simply can’t process them. And if we force ourselves to eat, it will only make us weaker.”
The villagers were confused. “If you can’t eat grains, vegetables, or animals,” asked Farmer Pullman, “then what can you eat?”
“People,” the man replied.
Everyone in the small house took a step back from the visitors.
“You mean to tell us you’re . . . cannibals?” said Farmer Hayworth.
“By nature, not by choice,” the man replied. “But, yes.”
He went on to reassure the shocked villagers that they were civilized cannibals and never killed innocent people. They, and others like them, had worked out an arrangement with the king by which they agreed never to kidnap and eat people against their will, and in turn they were allowed to purchase, at terrific expense, the severed limbs of accident victims and the bodies of hanged criminals. This comprised the entirety of their diet. They were now on their way to the coast of Meek because it was the place in Britain which boasted both the highest rate of accidents and the most deaths by hanging, and so food was relatively abundant—if not exactly plentiful.
Even though cannibals in those days were wealthy, they nearly always went hungry; firmly law-abiding, they were doomed to live lives of perpetual undernourishment, forever tormented by an appetite they could rarely satisfy. And it seemed that the cannibals who had arrived in Swampmuck, already starving and many days from Meek, were now doomed to die.
Having learned all this, the people of any other village, peculiar or otherwise, probably would have shrugged their shoulders and let the cannibals starve. But the Swampmuckians were compassionate almost to a fault, and so no one was surprised when Farmer Hayworth took a step forward, hobbling on crutches, and said, “It just so happens that I lost my leg in an accident a few days ago. I tossed it into the swamp, but I’m sure I could find it again, if the eels haven’t eaten it yet.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
More imagination and excitement . All 3 books without a disappointing or dull moment .
The illustrations are as wonderful as the stories. They remind me of fairy tales in their original incarnations, but not overly macabre and with a relevant life lesson cleverly worked in. Just enough to be a tad disturbing, extremely fascinating, and with ample doses of humor thrown in. A collection of stories you won't soon forget!
I love all of the Ransom Riggs books
You know what I said I wanted for 2017?More folk tales/fairytales based on cannibals. It's true - it's something that really happened. It actually totally didn't (I bet no one saw that coming), but Ransom Riggs delivered nonetheless. Truthfully, I wasn't super hyped up to read this book, since I wasn't super excited with Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I liked the novel and world well enough, but I was fine with it being a long time before I dived into it again. However, my friend kept talking about how excited she was for the book, and when I spotted it at the library, I decided I would pick it up. It was definitely a good book to get out of a book slump. There were a few stories that I was absolutely enthralled in, but there were more than a few that I skipped through and some that were just okay. I'll take you through my top 2 or 3 stories I enjoyed, two to definitely skip, and some general thoughts on the other ones. Shall we start with the good? Three stories that I thoroughly enjoyed were "The Fork-Tongued Princess" (any surprise there?), "The Woman Who Befriended Ghosts", and "The Girl Who Could Tame Nightmares." Interesting enough, I managed to like all the books with "girls" in the title. Is that a nod to my Disney Princess leanings? Anyway, these stories were delightful, odd, and completely enthralling. I loved diving into the interesting worlds that Riggs created for each of these. I actually enjoyed "The Woman Who Befriended Ghosts" the most - maybe due to the fact it had a happy ending? It was just so cute, though, and it involved so much thought. "The Girl Who Could Tame Nightmares" was absolutely brilliant as well, and Riggs proved his ability to write a creative story. He really is the master at folk tales. I was super impressed. Two stories I would skip would be "The First Ymbryne" and "The Pigeons of Saint Paul's" - neither of them looked particularly interesting and seemed to be quite long-winded. I will admit that I skipped the last three books as well - I wasn't as interested in the animal peculiars as much as the actual human-ish ones. If you really are interested in them, they may delight you as well. As for the other two stories - "The Splendid Cannibals" and "Cocobolo" - they were good, but just okay. I wasn't as impressed with them as the other three stories that I mentioned in the beginning, but they are worth a read as well. While not all the stories in this collection managed to capture my attention, quite a few of them enthralled me. Riggs is a master at atmosphere, and I definitely will be reading more books from him the future. I am so impressed by the lush atmosphere he created in these short stories, but I just wish a few of them captured my attention a bit more. Definitely a three crown and Belle rating, but some of the stories actually deserved some five crowned stars! Check out more of my reviews at http://bookprincessreviews.wordpress.com!
Fantastic I truly love this book. It creates a strange and still beautiful world using myths and legends. Brilliant read and I highly recommend!
actual rating -4.5 This was such a fantastic collection! I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of the Miss Peregrine series, but then it slightly deteriorated with each new installment. These short stories made me fall in love with it all over again, and I dare say Ransom Riggs is a better short story writer than a novelist. I hope to see more collections similar to this one from him!
Tales of the Peculiar Ransom Riggs This is a beautiful book, reminiscent of the books in an old-fashioned formal library, leather, gold leaf, ribbon book mark, and well-drawn illustrations, a change from the vintage photographs in the other PECULIAR books. The stories are delightful histories/fables with lessons for life, for Peculiar children and for the rest of us as well. I parceled the reading out over many days, reading and thinking about one at a time to let it sink in. This was a pleasure to read.
These are wonderfully peculiar stories that are heartwarming and are great lessons of life, friendship, love and loyalty. I am in the process of collecting special books for my grandson's library, and this will be surely be included in his collection.
Delightfully disturbing! How would I describe the stories in this book: whimsical yarns flourished with macabre twists. If you have read any of Ransom Riggs other books in the Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children series, you will not be surprised by this description. This novel takes place in the same universe and is meant to be a book that Peculiars would have read as children. As strange as I am making it seem, this is an imaginative book filled with stories that will delight middle-grade readers and terrify their younger siblings. What I liked: Variety: There are 10 short stories ranging from the relatively tame The Pigeons of Saint Paul to the truly gory The Splendid Cannibals. Each story is meant to teach a lesson to Peculiars. Many are cautionary tales warning Peculiars about the responsibilities of having peculiar talents. Some are meant to be history lessons on the origins of various beings in the Peculiar universe. All of these narratives paint a picture of a world of magic and possibility, where those who do not fit in are the heroes. Inclusiveness: There are many different main characters showcased in this book. I enjoyed that it was not Ethnocentric to one particular culture, but included many cultures. Cocobolo takes place in Asia, while The Boy Who Could Hold Back The Sea has an Irish setting. Most of the settings are not defined but have elements of various locales and types of people. What I Was Mixed About: I think this book does work as a stand alone collection of fairy tales. However, I think a reader would miss much of the depth in these stories if they have not read the other books in the Miss Peregrine series first. Also, these are NOT for readers younger than fourth grade. Besides the fact that some of the stories are truly disturbing, I think the vocabulary would be too advanced for younger readers.