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).
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Saran to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.[Page 105, line 31] confrère colleague (French).
Shenstone has somewhere or other, about the end, I think, of a long and dreary ode, four lines of pure tears thus:[Page 112, lines 5-6] Assez ... Assaye Evidently a deliberate play on words.
Yet time may diminish the pain.
The flower and the bud and the tree
That I reared for her pleasure in vain
In time may bring comfort to me.
- or words to that effect. I quote without the book but my heart knows it too well. Well! of course they were the words for my Philadelphia only they wouldn't have been set to music. So I had to invent a new sort of parallel passage of about the same age and appearance; and if you look closely you'll see that they in turn owe something to the meditation of Alexander Selkirk, "I am Monarch, etc." The actual effect comes out of "desolate", "rare", and "change". I'm rejoiced that you spotted it.' (Quoted in Carrington, 551.)
It is ... well documented in Christabel Aberconway's autobiography. [Christabel Aberconway, A Wiser Woman? A Book of Memories Hutchinson, 1966.]
She, as Christabel Macnaghten (born in December 1890), was a very close friend of Josephine Kipling, claiming to be her "best friend". I think Angela Mackail might have claimed that distinction with slightly firmer authority.
The event happened before Josephine's tragic death in the spring of 1899 when Christabel, who was a frequent holiday visitor to her uncle's home in Ovingdean, had walked over to Rottingdean from there to play with her friend in the garden of The Elms. The Macnaghtens were the squires of Ovingdean and lived at Ovingdean Grange, the setting of Harrison Ainsworth's novel about the escape of Charles II. She would have been seven at the time.
She had been playing in the garden with Josephine when Rudyard told Jo that Carrie wanted her daughter in the house, and so the two were left together. He certainly asked her how she had enjoyed her recent holiday in the New Forest and she replied that the Forest frightened her and that she much preferred the Downs. She asked him if he believed in ghosts - not fairies, but "ghosts". Jo (her diminutive) returned and Rudyard left them. A few days later Rudyard said to her "I've written a poem about ghosts in a wood; it is a very lonely wood and no one sees the ghosts; you only hear the sound of a horse galloping and a sound of a lady's skirt swishing as she rides; I shall give you the poem."
Christabel, to her great regret, never received the poem and was reminded of it when many years later she read Rewards and Fairies. Christabel was later, as Lady Aberconway, a member of the Kipling Society.
“The Pharisees favoured the Marsh above the rest of Old England. They’d flash their liddle green lights along the diks”[Verse 2 line 2] duntin’ dunt: knock with a dull sound [Oxford English Dictionary].
['diks' were ditches]