SAKI was a pen name used by british writer Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916) and he’s well-known for his short witty stories often depicting the upper-class and satirize the Edwardian society. Most of them come with a twist and slight touch of creepiness. His writing was influenced by Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll and Rudyard Kipling. Hector Hugh Munro was born in Akyab, British Burma, which was then still part of the British Raj, and was governed from Calcutta under the authority of the Viceroy of India. Saki was the son of Charles Augustus Munro, an Inspector General for the Indian Imperial Police, by his marriage to Mary Frances Mercer (1843–1872), the daughter of Rear Admiral Samuel Mercer. After the death of his mother (killed by a cow…) the Inspector General sent his children to live permanently in England. This was not going to be a happy time since the children was sent to live with their aunts. In the works of Saki there are several stories depicting aunts as evil, amoral individuals and usually they end up as dead.
AT THE AGE OF 43 he decided to join the Army although he was considered too old he was accepted. The First World War had just begun and he would die two years later in The Battle of the Ancre. His final words were: “Put that bloody cigarette out!” He was killed by a German sniper.
GABRIEL-ERNEST is the name of a short story published 1909. I remember as being included in an anthology about ghosts? I was about 10 and thought it was a very scary story! It depicts a teenaged werewolf who abduct and kills a number of children in a sleepy village. It’s also slightly gay-themed as the narrator come face to face with the young beast in the woods a rather incredibly dialogue appears between them. There are a number of great adaptations of Gabriel-Ernest online if you search the podcasts.
- My favourite adaptation of Saki’s Gabriel-Ernest, from TLS Voices.
- VARIOUS stories by SAKI published by Project Gutenberg.
- Interested in Saki’s works? I recommend Delphi Classics on Saki.