Story Analysis of ‘Sredni Vashtar’ by H. H. Munro (Saki)


It’s Day 8 of the #A2ZChallenge. This year, I invite you to read and discuss short stories with me. Each day, I bring you a ‘Read of the Day,’ a short story in English, so that we can indulge in the joy of reading. You can visit my site daily for a short story with analysis and participate in the discussion in the comments.

Read of the Day 

Today, we will read Sredni Vashtar by H. H. Munro (Saki).

You can read the short story online here.

About the Author 

Munro was born in Burma to Charles Augustus Munro, a Scottish military officer, and Mary Frances Mercer. After his mother’s death, Munro’s father, an officer in the Burma Police, sent his three children, including him, to live with their grandmother and aunts in England. Munro didn’t enjoy his stay with his aunts, and they’ve often featured in his writings as antagonists. Munro started his writing career at The Westminster Gazette with political satires and later worked as a foreign correspondent for The Morning Post. He is known for his short stories, political essays, novels, and plays. Under the pseudonym “Saki,” he wrote several popular short stories that mocked the Edwardian English society and its customs.

Story Analysis 

Nadine, my twelve-year-old daughter, loves dark stories. In fact, she wants me to write dark stories for children and young adults. I remember when they had a story-telling competition in her school a few years ago, she wanted to tell an all-out horror story. 

Sredni Vashtar by H. H. Munro (Saki) is dark children’s fiction. It breaks the myth that children are all things sweet and nice, and explores the idea that there is horror inside each one of us. We are all capable of thinking and doing evil things. 

“Sredni Vashtar went forth,

His thoughts were red thoughts and his teeth were white.

His enemies called for peace, but he brought them death.

Sredni Vashtar the Beautiful.”

The entertaining story, dramatically narrated by the author, is about a 10-year old boy, Conradin, who’s ailing with a terminal illness, and lives with Mrs. De Ropp, his dominating cousin who he abhors with all his might. Life is a living hell for the young boy, whose imagination comes to his rescue.

I’m not going to reveal more about this incredible story, and give away any spoilers. It’s a story you have to read, and discover its joys. I promise it’s worth every minute of your time, as the story thrills you to the finish. 

The story is also a satire on authoritarian parenting and religion. The more I read the works of classical authors, the more I’m blown away by their inventiveness in both the plot and style. For me, Sredni Vashtar by H. H. Munro (Saki) is short story fiction at its finest. So, it’s not a surprise that the story has been adapted for film, radio, television, and opera,

I’d love to know your thoughts on this imaginatively written tale, Sredni Vashtar by H. H. Munro (Saki). 

*I’m participating in the #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge.

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Tina Sequeira
Tina Sequeira is a marketer and moonlighting writer. She is passionate about tech, creativity, and social justice—dabbling in and writing about the same.