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…The books lasted for ten days. They were eaten too quickly in long gulps of twelve hours at a time. … (he) would follow the rays of the sinking sun from the kitchen to the dining-room and thence upward to his own bedroom until all was gray dark, and he ran down to the kitchen fire and read by its light. He was happy in that he was left alone and could read as much as he pleased…


This is from “Baa Baa Black Sheep” in Wee Wille Winkie. This story is based on Kipling’s fearful childhood memories of being suddenly abandoned, by his parents, at the age of five, for five years, with people he hated, who neither loved nor understood him.

He took refuge in books, though it almost cost him his eyesight. Although his mother later came to bring him home, and was warm and loving, the experience left him emotionally scarred, but determined that his own children would grow up loved and cared for.