Edwardian Era
This edition printed in:

An orange tabby with the blue and gold cover of They.

Two Bites of Slimy Fish

Myself and my lovely spouse dined on fish fillets last night and, well, I had my doubts about them. I took just two bites and then I couldn’t eat anymore due to a fishy sliminess that I couldn’t quite stomach. I made my apologies, I set the fillet aside. I thought that was the end of it.

But then I woke up this morning and could barely make it to the bathroom without running into the bedroom wall because I was so nauseous and dizzy. My lovely spouse, found me on the bathroom floor trying to get my rebelling stomach to settle down, and after a careful analysis of my symptoms she diagnosed me with the obvious.

The illustrated frontispiece of They.

A mild case of food poisoning. From two bites of fish. Well, I am glad I didn’t eat the whole thing.

My lovely spouse made sure to help me drink lots of water and she helped me through multiple trips to the bathroom. Due to her careful care and attention I started to feel better, even if I’m still feeling the edge of queasiness and a headache.

It will be a while before I have fish for dinner again.


Rudyard Kipling’s They is a ghost story about a beautiful house at the edge of a spooky forest by the sea. The house is inhabited by a blind woman and a crowd of children that aren’t quite what they seem to be.

It’s a story that is a bit strange for Kipling and a bit strange in and of itself. It’s a narrative shrouded in a mist of vagaries and implications. Even when you get to the end of the story, you have to sit back and think about what exactly happened and all of the clues that were present in the story before the final plot twist and reveal.

A page of They, opened to a bright illustration.

If anything, I wish that this narrative had a bit more to it. A bit more description, a bit more detail, a few more events. It was an hour-read that could have easily been twice as long and a bit more complex in order to be more compelling.

A Note on the Edition

I found my copy of They in the antiquarian section of a used bookstore in a nearby city and it was a surprise. I’d never heard of the story before, but I couldn’t resist the beautifully bound book, with gold lettering, and a generous amount of very lush colour plates.

From 1906 with illustrations by F.H. Townsend, the book appears to be a lot thicker than it is. They is truly a short story, being only 80 pages in length, but only one side of each page in my edition has type on it and that type is large with more than expansive margins. It feels very luxurious to read but also a little bit like some paper could have definitely been saved.

A stuffed bunny sits beside an antique copy of They.

A Note on Rudyard Kipling

I would be remiss if I did not mention the obvious problems present in a Rudyard Kipling. His writing is a prime example of British colonialism and imperialism. He has the biases and prejudices that were all too common in his time. This work is no exception and includes offensive, horrible language, racism, and sexism, as well as elitism.

Kipling is an author that can be difficult to read since his work definitely is not something that has aged well. I always recommend with authors like Kipling that readers be prepared to face some of the worst and ugliest parts of studying nineteenth century literature.

An orange tabby with the blue illustrated cover of They.

A Day on the Sofa

So, for the two bites of slimy fish I took, I ended up spending the entire day queasy on the sofa. Not exactly pleasant, but at the same time, I do enjoy a slow, cozy day reading and relaxing. As an added bonus, the cats all gather around me when I have days like today. They take turns curling up on my lap and coming by the sofa for pets and purrs.

A white stuffed rabbit lies on the single-sided pages of They.

I feel better as the evening progresses so at least I have the hope that tomorrow will be a normal day full of all of the tasks I didn’t manage to get to today. Next time I’ll be sure to spit that slimy fishy fillet back out if I have the least bad feeling about it.

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[…] will say that there were a few stories here that felt out of place. Rudyard Kipling’s They is a ghost story, yes, but it is nearly novella length and so I found it strange that it would be […]