"Slaves of the Lamp"

Part I

notes on the text



[Apr 2 2003]

Publication history

This was the first 'Stalky' story to be published, and possibly the first to be written. It first appeared in Cosmopolis in April 1897, and was subsequently collected in Stalky & Co. (1899) It was later included in The Complete Stalky & Co. (1929) It is twinned with "Slaves of the Lamp" Part II, in which the tactics used by Stalky against his enemies at school are used again with great success on the North West Frontier of India

The story

Stalky, Turkey and Beetle feel oppressed and humiliated by their old enemy Mr King, the brilliant, sneering classics master, and decide to take revenge. They deliberately get themselves thrown out of their study, which is immediately above that of King. Stalky secretly stays behind, and when a local carrier, 'Rabbits-Eggs', comes by in the dark, rather drunk, Stalky fires stinging buckshot at him from a catapult.

Rabbits-Eggs curses and swears, King raises the window to upbraid him, and the drunken carrier hurles jagged flints at him, wrecking his study. Stalky & Co. have had their revenge, and there is no evidence against them.