Tooth and Claw – Short Stories
TOOTH AND CLAW
In each of the following stories there is a wild or a dangerous animal. The animals can hurt and kill. And yet all the stories take place in houses, gardens, a small wood – safe, civilized places where we do not expect to meet wild and dangerous animals. So why are they there? Why has Saki brought these fierce creatures into our homes?
The answer is that we want them to be there. Of course, we do not want wolves in our gardens all the time; that would be very inconvenient. But sometimes – when we have an unwelcome visitor, or when we have to be polite when we want to be rude – sometimes a real wolf would be very useful indeed. Saki’s animals are sometimes funny, and they are sometimes cruel. But they always bite through what we pretend, and uncover the real emotions beneath.
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First published in Oxford Bookworms 1991
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ISBN 978 0 19 479135 9
Illustrated by: Jenny Brackley
Word count (main text): 8255 words
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e-Book ISBN 978 0 19 478657 7
e-Book first published 2012
Conradin was ten years old and was often ill.
‘The boy is not strong,’ said the doctor. ‘He will not live much longer.’ But the doctor did not know about Conradin’s imagination. In Conradin’s lonely, loveless world, his imagination was the only thing that kept him alive.
Conradin’s parents were dead and he lived with his aunt. The aunt did not like Conradin and was often unkind to him. Conradin hated her with all his heart, but he obeyed her quietly and took his medicine without arguing. Mostly he kept out of her way. She had no place in his world. His real, everyday life in his aunt’s colourless, comfortless house was narrow and uninteresting. But inside his small, dark head exciting and violent thoughts ran wild. In the bright world of his imagination Conradin was strong and brave. It was a wonderful world, and the aunt was locked out of it.