These notes are based on those written by Donald Mackenzie for the OXFORD WORLD'S CLASSICS edition of Puck of Pook's Hill and Rewards and Fairies (1995) with the kind permission of Oxford University Press. Except where stated otherwise, the page numbers below refer to the Macmillan Uniform Edition of Rewards and Fairies (1910, and frequently reprinted since). The notes on "The Run of the Downs" and "Song of the Men's Side" are by Philip Holberton.
In "The Knife and the Naked Chalk" the sacrifice of the Flint Man is also described in the language and imagery of the Bible: 'It was for the sheep. The sheep are the people ... What else could I have done?' His anguished solitude and fear both before and after the putting out of his right eye resemble Christ's in the garden of Gethsemane. `O poor - poor God', says Puck as the Flint Man describes the effects of his sacrifice...
The story concerns not just the act of self-sacrifice, the dangers and difficulties involved along the way: `the Beast' is more than a physical threat – inside as well as out, it represents the potential wholesale destruction of social meaning and identity.
...The end of the story confirms the Flint Man's initial statement that `one cannot feed some things on names and songs': `Nothing is left except the words and the songs, and the worship of a God. I would sell them all', he says.
I'm just in love with all these three,'The Marsh' is Romney Marsh, the low lying area along the coast along the border between Susssex and Kent (see "Dymchurch Flit"); 'the white Chalk coast' is to the West where the Downs end in white cliffs above the English Channel, the highest of which is Beachy Head.
The Weald and the Marsh and the Down country.
Nor I don't know which I love the most,
The Weald or the Marsh or the white Chalk coast!
The Weald is good, the Downs are best.[Line 3]
“Lest you should doubt my courage, I will consent that you should bind me, provided one of you put his hand into my mouth as a pledge that no deceit is intended.” At length Tyr stepped forward valiantly, and put his strong right hand into the wolf’s cruel jaws.But Fenrir is safely bound till Ragnarok - the final battle of the Twilight of the Gods. See The Heroes of Asgard by Annie and Eliza Keary, first published in 1870, which Kipling clearly had in his library at Bateman's. In Puck of Pook’s Hill (p. 16 line 20) Puck says:
At this signal, the other Aesir threw the chain round the monster’s neck, bound him securely with one end, and fastened the other to a great rock. When he was bound, Fenrir rose, and shook himself, as he had done before; but in vain he raised himself up, and bounded forward – the more he struggled the more firmly the slender chain bound him.
At this sight the Aesir set up a loud shout of joy. Only Tyr was silent, for he had lost his hand.
“I think he claimed kin with Thor of the Scandinavians.”[Verse 2]
“Heroes of Asgard” Thor?’ said Una. She had been reading the book.