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I met the following line: "of listening ears on which to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales" in the novel Waterland, written by Graham Swift.

I began, having recognized in my young but by no means carefree class the contagious symptoms of fear: ‘Once upon a time …’

Children, who will inherit the world. Children to whom, throughout history, stories have been told, chiefly but not always at bedtime, in order to quell restless thoughts; whose need of stories is matched only by the need adults have of children to tell stories to, of receptacles for their stock of fairy-tales, of listening ears on which to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales, their own lives; children – they are going to separate you and me. Lewis has seen to it. Forgive this emotion. I do not deserve your protestations. (We need our Cricky and all that stuff of his.) I do not expect you to understand that after thirty-two years I have rolled you all into one and now I know the agonies of a mother robbed of her child.… But listen, listen. Your history teacher wishes to give you the complete and final version …

And since a fairy-tale must have a setting, a setting which, like the settings of all good fairy-tales, must be both palpable and unreal, let me tell you

Below, is the line which has prompted me to ask the following questions.

"whose need of stories is matched only by the need adults have of children to tell stories to, of receptacles for their stock of fairy-tales, of listening ears on which to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales, their own lives"

  1. Does the sentence “... of listening ears on which to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales ...” mean: "The adult have the need to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales on the listening ears"?

  2. Does the word yet mean "used for emphasizing that someone or something is even bigger, better, worse, more etc than someone or something else" in yet haunting of fairy-tales?

  3. Is the word haunting an adjective?

  4. Does the word haunting mean "sad or beautiful in a way that is difficult to forget"

  5. Does the word "of" in “haunting of fairy-tales” have the same meaning as the word "of" in the sentence "It is very nice of you to say that"?

  6. Does the word "of" in "haunting of fairy-tales" mean "used to indicate that someone has behaved in a specified way"?

Thanks a lot for everyone's help in advance.

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    These are a lot of questions instead of a single one. It may help to split up the convoluted sentence you are struggling with into seperate parts to start with: Adults have a need of children to tell stories to. Adults have a need of receptacles for their stock of fairy-tales. Adults have a need of listening ears on which to unload fairy tales. Adults have a need of listening ears on which to unload their own lives. – oerkelens Aug 23 '16 at 15:24
  • At first sight it seems like a lot of questions, but they all revolve around one particular sentence. The OP has clearly shown effort, and attempted to find an answer to their question. – Mari-Lou A Aug 23 '16 at 16:48
  • @oerkelens Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it. – Li Xiaodong Aug 24 '16 at 0:32
  • @Mari-Lou A Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it. How can I reopen my question? Thank you so much for your help again. – Li Xiaodong Aug 24 '16 at 0:40
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    Well done. But I think your request would be better received, if you also asked how you might improve your question. It will show a willingness on your behalf to understand why the question was put on hold. – Mari-Lou A Aug 24 '16 at 9:36
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"whose need of stories is matched only by the need adults have of children to tell stories to, of receptacles for their stock of fairy-tales, of listening ears on which to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales, their own lives"

1) Does the sentence "of listening ears on which to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales" mean "The adult have the need to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales on the listening ears"?

Yes, except we say that "the adults have" or "the adult (singular) has".

2) Does the word "yet" mean "used for emphasizing that someone or something is even bigger, better, worse, more etc than someone or something else" in the sentence "of listening ears on which to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales"?

yet means but here, which in turn means "and (surprisingly)".

3) Is the word "haunting" an adjective in the sentence "of listening ears on which to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales"?

yes

4) Does the word "haunting" mean "sad or beautiful in a way that is difficult to forget" in the sentence "of listening ears on which to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales"?

yes

EDIT: "Haunting" doesn't mean "sad or beautiful" but it could mean "sad and beautiful" in this context. "haunting" (as an adjective) really just means that it's difficult to forget, and that could be for a variety of reasons.

5) Does the word "of" in "haunting of fairy-tales" have the same meaning as the word "of" in the sentence "It is very nice of you to say that"?

The phrase is "the most haunting of fairy-tales" and it means that it is the most haunting fairy tale. The meaning of "of" is similar to "belonging to" in this context, and it can be seen as a contraction of "The most haunting tale from the set of all fairy tales".

6) Does the word "of" in "haunting of fairy-tales" mean "used to indicate that someone has behaved in a specified way"?

No, it means what I said in question 5

  • Pedant point: In the first question, it means "The adults have the need to unload those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales, their own lives, on the listening ears". Otherwise there is nowhere left in the sentence to make clear that the fairy-tales are actually true stories. – Spagirl Aug 23 '16 at 15:48
  • @Max Williams Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it. Do the word "unbelievable" and the word "haunting" both use their superlative degree in "those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales"? Thank you so much for your help again. – Li Xiaodong Aug 24 '16 at 1:42
  • @Spagirl Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it. – Li Xiaodong Aug 24 '16 at 1:43
  • @LiXiaodong "superlative degree" refers to words ending in "est" such as weakest, strongest etc, and also "most weak", "most strong". The "most" here, I think, applies only to "unbelievable", but it might apply to "haunting" too. So I'd say definitely yes for "unbelievable" and "maybe" for "haunting". – Max Williams Aug 24 '16 at 7:52
  • Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it. Does "those most unbelievable yet haunting of fairy-tales" mean "those most unbelievable but haunting fairy-tales from the set of all fairy-tales"? Thank you so much for your help again. – Li Xiaodong Aug 24 '16 at 8:31

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