Beasts and Super-Beasts by Saki


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Beasts and Super-Beasts, by Saki

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Beasts and Super-Beasts

Author: Saki

Release Date: April 19, 2005 [eBook #269]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1914 John Lane, The Bodley Head edition by David
Price, email



"The Open Window," "The Schartz-Metterklume Method," and "Clovis on
Parental Responsibilities," originally appeared in the _Westminster
Gazette_, "The Elk" in the _Bystander_, and the remaining stories in the
_Morning Post_. To the Editors of these papers I am indebted for their
courtesy in allowing me to reprint them.

H. H. M.


Leonard Bilsiter was one of those people who have failed to find this
world attractive or interesting, and who have sought compensation in an
"unseen world" of their own experience or imagination--or invention.
Children do that sort of thing successfully, but children are content to
convince themselves, and do not vulgarise their beliefs by trying to
convince other people. Leonard Bilsiter's beliefs were for "the few,"
that is to say, anyone who would listen to him.

His dabblings in the unseen might not have carried him beyond the
customary platitudes of the drawing-room visionary if accident had not
reinforced his stock-in-trade of mystical lore. In company with a
friend, who was interested in a Ural mining concern, he had made a trip
across Eastern Europe at a moment when the great Russian railway strike
was developing from a threat to a reality; its outbreak caught him on the
return journey, somewhere on the further side of Perm, and it was while
waiting for a couple of days at a wayside station in a state of suspended
locomotion that he made the acquaintance of a dealer in harness and
metalware, who profitably whiled away the tedium of the long halt by
initiating his English travelling companion in a fragmentary system of
folk-lore that he had picked up from Trans-Baikal traders and natives.
Leonard returned to his home circle garrulous about his Russian strike
experiences, but oppressively reticent about certain dark mysteries,
which he alluded to under the resounding title of Siberian Magic. The
reticence wore off in a week or two under the influence of an entire lack
of general curiosity, and Leonard began to make more detailed allusions
to the enormous powers which this new esoteric force, to use his own
description of it, conferred on the initiated few who knew how to wield
it. His aunt, Cecilia Hoops, who loved sensation perhaps rather better
than she loved the truth, gave him as clamorous an advertisement as
anyone could wish for by retailing an account of how he had turned a
vegetable marrow into a wood pigeon before her very eyes. As a
manifestation of the possession of supernatural powers, the story was
discounted in some quarters by the respect accorded to Mrs. Hoops' powers
of imagination.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Wed 3rd Jun 2020, 4:06