The Lumber Room

"Consign them to dust and damp by way of preserving them"

The Lumber Room

with 2 comments

The Lumber Room is a short story by Saki. Read it at eBooks@Adelaide or haytom.us or Wikisource.
It is certainly one of the finest stories of its length in the English language. It begins thus:

The children were to be driven, as a special treat, to the sands at Jagborough.  Nicholas was not to be of the party; he was in disgrace.  Only that morning he had refused to eat his wholesome bread-and-milk on the seemingly frivolous ground that there was a frog in it.  Older and wiser and better people had told him that there could not possibly be a frog in his bread-and-milk and that he was not to talk nonsense; he continued, nevertheless, to talk what seemed the veriest nonsense, and described with much detail the colouration and markings of the alleged frog.  The dramatic part of the incident was that there really was a frog in Nicholas’ basin of bread-and-milk; he had put it there himself, so he felt entitled to know something about it.  The sin of taking a frog from the garden and putting it into a bowl of wholesome bread-and-milk was enlarged on at great length, but the fact that stood out clearest in the whole affair, as it presented itself to the mind of Nicholas, was that the older, wiser, and better people had been proved to be profoundly in error in matters about which they had expressed the utmost assurance.

“You said there couldn’t possibly be a frog in my bread-and-milk; there was a frog in my bread-and-milk,” he repeated, with the insistence of a skilled tactician who does not intend to shift from favourable ground.

Can anyone really stop reading at that? Read it.

Phrases of relevance to this so-called blog:
“consign them to dust and damp by way of preserving them”.

Also, “all one knew about his skill in shooting was that he could hit a large stag at a ridiculously short range.”

[If you came here looking for an essay about The Lumber Room, see The Lumber Room: an interpretation by elberry.

You have my sympathies. The story is meant to be read and enjoyed for what it is, not interpreted. G. K. Chesterton on Alice:

Poor, poor little Alice! She has not only been caught and made to do lessons; she has been forced to inflict lessons on others. Alice is now not only a schoolgirl but a schoolmistress. The holiday is over and Dodgson is again a don. There will be lots and lots of examination papers, with questions like:
(1) What do you know of the following; mime, mimble, haddock’s eyes, treacle-wells, beautiful soup?
(2) Record all the moves in the chess game in Alice Through the Looking-Glass, and give diagram.
(3) Outline the practical policy of the White Knight for dealing with the social problem of green whiskers.
(4) Distinguish between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Written by S

Sun, 2007-07-29 at 17:51:56 +05:30

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for ‘The Lumber Room’. You are absolutely right. It definitely has to be one of the finest short stories. Check out ‘Oh! The Public’ by Chekhov at http://chekhov2.tripod.com/039.htm too.

    deshvaasi

    Sat, 2009-11-21 at 13:54:24 +05:30

  2. hi,

    Saw your post in http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/nov/02/chess-sanskrit-persian-jones-old-calcutta/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+nyrblog+%28NYRblog%29

    If you want to know more about persian jones, Read Dr.Aich’s Lies with long legs. You can read it online for free from this website http://www.lieswithlonglegs.com

    Sandeep

    Mon, 2012-03-19 at 15:39:38 +05:30


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