Then she went to sleep, to dream the strange dreams of herl lineage, things too fantastic to be worth recording, for she was at the time of life when a girl's thoughts turn to fantasy, even beyond Athroonagh, and here in Athroonagh her fantasies had strange tales amongst which to riot.

This is from "The Story of Mona Sheehy" by Lord Dunsany in 1939.

I can't understand the meaning of the sentence below.

strange tales amongst which to riot.

I am glad if somebody would kindly teach me.

1 Answer 1


The word 'tales' means stories. The verb 'to riot' normally means that a crowd of people becomes violent and lawless, engaging in a frenzy of destruction. While fantasies can become violent, they can't really be lawless or cause physical destruction. In the sentence you mention it has a more figurative meaning, which is to relinquish control and run outside normal boundaries.

The prepositional phrase, 'amongst which to riot' applies to the 'strange tales' or 'strange stories'. The word 'amongst' in this case means that the fantasies can inhabit the world of the strange stories, taking ideas and details from them. Her fantasies could riot amongst the strange stories in Athroonagh. In other words,

Her fantasies had strange stories to inspire them to run out of control, outside of normal boundaries.

  • Thank you dwilli " for your kind and detailed instruction. I have completely understood the meaning of the words! Nov 25, 2019 at 4:39
  • You're welcome, @HiroshiInagaki. It's my pleasure. Are you aware that you can click the green check mark to indicate that your question has been answered?
    – dwilli
    Nov 25, 2019 at 4:41

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