Though I am very fond of the story myself, I can fully understand why Wright might have rejected it. Unlike many Conan yarns, this one is slow-paced, even thoughtful, largely lacking in action and having no female character whom Margaret Brundage could paint in a state of undress for the cover of Weird Tales. "The God in the Bowl" is, for all intents and purposes, a police procedural story, with a young Conan the prime suspect in a murder. A watchman at "a museum and antique house men called Kallian Publico's Temple" in Nemedia comes across "the sprawling corpse that had been the rich and powerful owner of the Temple." In death, Publico's face is blackened, as is his tongue, and his eyes nearly pop out from his head. Though his tunic is torn, his many bejeweled rings remain on his fingers, to the amazement of the watchman, who naturally suspects greed as the motive.
Not long thereafter, Arus, the watchman notices a figure coming through one of the openings in the hallway.
Arus saw a tall powerfully built youth, naked but for a loin-cloth, and sandals strapped about his ankles. His skin was burned brown as by the suns of the wastelands, and Arus glanced nervously at his broad shoulders, massive chest and heavy arms. A single look at the moody, broad-browed features told the watchman that the man was no Nemedian. From under a mop of unruly black hair smoldered a pair of dangerous blue eyes. A long sword hung in a leather scabbard at his girdle.I'm very fond of this introduction to the youthful Conan, because it succinctly establishes that, though a barbarian, Conan is no mere brute. He speaks a foreign language intelligibly and does not attack the watchman, even though he points a crossbow at him. And though, as we later learn, Conan had entered the Temple to steal, he speaks plainly and without guile to the watchman, flatly denying that he is a murderer, a position he maintains even when interrogated by a member of the city's inquisitorial council. The rest of the story consists of Conan and the Nemedians trying to piece together what actually happened to Kallian Publico and dealing with it.
Arus felt his skin crawl, and he fingered his crossbow tensely, of half a mind to drive a bolt through the stranger's body without parley, yet fearful of what might happen if he failed to inflict death at the first shot.
The stranger looked at the body on the floor more in curiosity than surprise.
"Why did you kill?" asked Arus nervously.
The other shook his tousled head.
"I didn't kill him," he answered, speaking Nemedian with a barbaric accent. "Who is he?"
"The God in the Bowl" is a short story and, as I said, not filled with much swordplay or indeed any other kind of action. That's probably why I like it so much: it shows facets of Conan other than his great strength and skill at arms. He's shown to be both intelligent and honorable -- as well as clearly contemptuous of civilization. In short, "The God in the Bowl" is an excellent introduction to the full character of Howard's Conan, as well as to many of the elements and themes of his Hyborian Age tales. It's also a story that's ripe for expansion and development, laying the foundation for original follow-ups to it. What a pity that a story like this is never chosen as the basis for a Hollywood screenplay!