ONCE UPON A time, in the mid-1970s, an Italian-born count named Ulderico Gropplero di Troppenburg wrote a delightful children's storybook about a band of rainbow goblins who went marauding through a pristine fantasyland of valleys and meadows, lassoing rainbows and filling their bellies with the luscious colors of the spectrum. It was a wonderful tale of greed and intrigue and the triumph of good over evil, richly illustrated with large-scale reproductions of oils on canvas created by the author, who also was a distinguished painter who went on to earn a graduate degree in stage and costume design from the Munich Academy. The book, The Rainbow Goblins, was translated from German into five languages, including the artful English-language version first published in the United States in 1978, and inspired a film shown on German television as well as theatre and ballet pieces in Germany and the United States. Not long thereafter, the book went out of print; and though some people looked for it at used bookstores and shops specializing in out-of-print books, it seemed to have vanished forever.
Then in 1996, the German count, who published under the name Ul de Rico, which was much shorter than his original name, wrote another story about a goblin he forgot to make any mention of the first time around. The first time around, he was just trying to tell a really good story and not to milk a good idea for all it was worth (not unlike, one might think, the way his greedy characters milked the rainbow and sucked all the life and beauty out of it). This sequel, The White Goblin, seemed hastily written, poorly translated, and even contained grammatical and typographical errors. It really was not worth publishing at all, in spite of its beautiful pictures and environmental bent.
The only good thing about The White Goblin is that it started out with the sentence "Everybody knows the story of the seven Rainbow Goblins..."; and since everybody didn't, being that the book had been out of print for at least a decade, it occasioned the reprinting of the original...which really was a very good story and is now available at local booksellers (Thames and Hudson, $19.95). The End.
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