(April 3rd to 9th)

Format: Triple

…They clawed, they slapped, they fled, leaving behind them a trophy of banners and brasses crudely arranged round the big drum. Then that end of the street also shut its windows, and the village, stripped of life, lay round me like a reef at low tide…

This is from “The Vortex” in A Diversity of Creatures. Four boxes of bees have been dropped in the street in a crowded country village on a hot summer afternoon. They swarm into the air, stinging everyone in their path.


This is from “‘Stalky'”, the introductory ‘Stalky’ tale , first published in The Windsor Magazine and McClure’s in December 1898 as the first of a run of seven monthly stories, but not included in Stalky & Co. in 1899, and not collected until Land and Sea Tales of Scouts and Guides in 1923.

The three, Corkran, M’Turk and Beetle, have refused to join a group of collegers who are rounding up some cattle as a jape against the farmer. When the cattle rustlers are caught and locked up for retribution, the three rescue them by a cunning piece of strategy; thereafter Corkran is nicknamed ‘Stalky’.

They strolled across the wind, shoulders touching, hands in pockets, caps driven down on their noses and coat-collars turned up against the fine rain that was sweeping over the Burrows. Underfoot, the salty, sheep-bitten turf squelched at every step. Overhead smoking vapours of the Atlantic drove low in pearly-grey wreaths. Out of the mist to windward, beyond the grey loom of the pebble-ridge came an unceasing roar of the sea rising and falling in rollers two miles long. To leeward a few stray cattle and donkeys showed through the haze.


This is from “Scylla and Charybdis”, the ‘lost’ and uncompleted ‘Stalky’ story that was first published in the March 2004 issue of the Kipling Journal. It is thought to have been written in the summer of 1898 as an introduction to the ‘Stalky’ canon, but rejected by Kipling. The three have a hideout on the golf-course, on the edge of a bunker, from where they seize the golf-balls of errant golfers. They clash with an elderly Major, who attacks them, but they repel him with their catapults. When they are later caught, they evade punishment by threatening to reveal that the Major hd been cheating.

…They pushed though a dripping hedge, landed among water-clogged clods, and sat down on a rust-coated harrow. The cheroot burned with sputterings of saltpetre. They smoked it gingerly, each passing it to the other between closed forefinger and thumb.


This is from “A Little Prep” in Stalky & Co. Stalky, M’Turk and Beetle are out of bounds, smoking a lethal cheroot, which incapacitates them. They encounter the Head, who deals out stern punishment; the collegers have been strictly forbidden to range very far because of a case of diptheria, traced to an outlying farm. They later discover that the Head has saved the life of the diptheria sufferer at the risk of his own, and get their own back on him by revealing this in a particularly embarrassing way.