American Gods Wiki
American Gods Wiki

I'm still mad about my leg, but if I hadn't messed it up, I would probably be in college, and instead I was here with Gramma while she was sick, so maybe it was meant to be. And maybe I don't gotta be mad about it, you know? Gramma prayed for patience: "Lord, like Job, let me be patient."

–Ruby Goodchild, "The Greatest Story Ever Told"

Ruby Goodchild is a mourner who is using the services of Ibis and Jacquel Funeral Parlor to prepare her grandmother for burial. After her brother, Jamarr, dies, she uses their services again.


Ruby Goodchild's grandmother, Lila, took care of Ruby and her brother, Jamarr, in Cairo, Illinois. Ruby was there with her grandmother when she got sick and used Ibis and Jacquel Funeral Parlor after her grandmother's death. A few days later, Jamarr died from a drug overdose so Ruby again used the services of Ibis and Jacquel to prepare his body for burial.

Significance in narrative[]

Chapter Eight[]

Shadow and Jacquel go to the house of an elderly deceased woman named Lila Goodchild. Her husband is poor and upset, and he complains that their children have shown no respect for their parents. Meanwhile, Shadow takes away the body and learns how to work the hearse and the gurney. Later, Ibis and Jacquel host a service for Lila Goodchild. Mr. Goodchild continues to complain how his children won’t come to pay their respects, repeating “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree."

Significance in series[]

"The Greatest Story Ever Told"[]

Bilquis enters a chapel at Ibis and Jacquel Funeral Parlor and encounters Ruby Goodchild sitting alone in front of an empty coffin. Ruby asks how she knew her grandmother and if she's friends with her mother, Ida. Bilquis replies she is there for Shadow. Bilquis asks about the empty casket and Ruby explains that her grandma is to be buried in the next couple of days. Bilquis asks who she is praying to. Ruby explains how her reverend talks about God as an idea, a quote Bilquis recognizes as one from Beneatha. Bilquis tells Ruby that no woman should hide her heart in God because she cannot hear her own truth. Mr. Nancy interrupts with a quote he attributes to Maya Angelou about a woman hiding her heart in God to make men search for Him to find her.

Bilquis approaches Ruby where she sits praying in the chapel. She prays because it gives her comfort, the same way running used to before she messed up her leg. She tries to be accepting and patient of her situation because it allowed her to be with Lila while she was sick. Lila had a church and a community that allowed her to take care of Ruby and Jamarr and was content. Bilquis looks toward the crucifix on the altar and mentions how Jesus was not content and was a troublemaker and died because he angered the men in power. He refused to be cowed and now he wields great power and worship. Ruby introduces herself to Bilquis and offers her hand.

"The Ways of the Dead"[]


Notes and trivia[]