Lord Dunsany wrote much, but his Jorkens stories are my favorite. Joseph Jorkens is a stalwart member of the Billiards Club, an older man of adventure and logorrhea, a bore, a man motivated by whiskey and soda and not much else. He is a talker, a teller of stories, but not a sage; he is mocked behind his back by members of the club. But Jorkens endures. The Tale of the Abu Laheeb is all one needs to read to determine if one is pro or anti Jorkens, if you hang on his every word, or mock him over cigars and brandy.
I am firmly pro-Jorkens. Long may he talk.
"Well, the problem is a very simple one; it is simply the question whether man with his wisdom and curiosity has discovered all the animals that there are in the world, or whether there's one, and a very curious one too, hidden amongst the papyrus, that white men have never seen. And that's not quite what I mean, for there are white men that have seen things that not every young whipper-snapper will believe. I should rather have said an animal that our civilization has not yet taken cognizance of. At Kosti, more than twenty years ago, I first heard two men definitely speak of it, the abu laheeb they called it, and I think they both believed in it too; but Khartoum was only a hundred and fifty miles off, and they had evening clothes with them, and used to wear them at dinner, and they had china plates and silver forks, and ornaments on their mantelpiece, and one thing and another; and all these things seemed to appall their imagination, and they wouldn't honestly let themselves believe it. 'Had three or four fires round his tent,' said one of them, telling of someone, 'and says that the abu laheeb came down about two A.M., and he saw it clear in the firelight.' 'Did it get what it wanted?' said the other. 'Yes, went away hugging it.'