Saki Short Stories

Saki (H. H. Munro) is considered a master of the short story, known for his clever lines and twist endings. His stories contain more witticisms than those of any other short story writer.

Here is a collection of Saki stories, both famous and lesser known, with summaries. I’ve included links and an approximate word count where possible.

They are in alphabetical order of the first word of the title, excluding “A”, “An” and “The”.Saki

The Background | 1,200 words

Henry Depli, a commercial traveller, receives a modest inheritance from a distant relative. He commissions a local artist for a tattoo, but when it comes time to make payment he finds his funds are lacking.

“The Background”

The Bag | 1,740 words

Major Pallaby is the master of a hunting club. Foxes are scarce, so enthusiasm in the club is waning. When a young Russian man returns from his hunt his hostess tries to hide the bag’s contents from the Major.

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The Blood-Feud of Toad-Water | 1,270 words

The Cricks and the Saunderses are the only two families for miles. One of the Crick hens gets onto the neighbors property, sparking an outburst.

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The Bull | 1,700 words

A farmer, Tom Yorkfield, gets a visit from his half-brother, Laurence, a painter of animals.

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Esme | 1,710 words

In the countryside, a baroness and her friend encounter a hyena. It wants a snack.

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Filboid Studge, the Story of a Mouse that Helped | 1,040 words

An artist wants to marry the daughter of a very rich man. The man’s fortunes have recently turned as he stands to lose everything from a failed product launch, a new breakfast cereal. The artist tries to redesign the ad campaign to save the man’s business.

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Gabriel-Ernest | 2,440 words

There’s a wild, feral boy in the woods. He infiltrates a man’s home.

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Hermann the Irascible | 980 words

Hermann the Irascible rises to the British throne and makes many changes. His Prime Minister complains that the Suffragette movement is interfering with many government meetings. Hermann devises a plan to solve the problem.

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The Hounds of Fate | 2,830 words

A weary man approaches a house looking for some relief, but he’s greeted like he’s the returning owner.

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The Interlopers | 2,150 words

Two feuding family patriarchs encounter each other in the forest. An accident gives them some time to talk about their problems.

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Laura | 1,670 words

Laura, who expects to die soon, believes she will be reincarnated as something suitable to her behavior and personality, probably an otter.

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The Mouse | 1,500 words

A man is riding in a train carriage with a woman who is a stranger. He feels a mouse crawling in his pants, and he struggles to remove it in a discreet and dignified way.

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Mrs. Packletide’s Tiger | 1,330 words

Mrs. Packletide wants to shoot a tiger to outshine a rival. She plots to do it in an easy way, but something goes awry.

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The Open Window | 1,240 words

A man is visiting the country for some relaxation. While waiting to be introduced to all the members of the household, a young girl tells him the story of their tragic family history.

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The Philanthropist and the Happy Cat | 1,800 words

Jocantha Bessbury is a comfortable and contented wife. She suspects that only her cat, Attab, is more contented than herself. Wanting to spread good cheer, Jocantha decides to buy theatre tickets and give them away to a shop girl who couldn’t afford them on her own. Meanwhile, the cat goes about its usual routine.

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Reginald on Besetting Sins | 770 words

A woman gets in the habit of telling the truth – first in small things, eventually in everything. It affects her socially.

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The Reticence of Lady Anne | 1,050 words

Egbert tries to smooth things over with his wife. They had argued, so he tries to get her talking again, but she’s uncooperative.

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The Schwartz-Metterklume Method | 1,800 words

At a train station, a mischievous woman poses as the governess that Mrs. Quabarl has been expecting.

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The She-Wolf | 2,260 words

A man at a dinner party says he has supernatural powers, so some of the guests decide to play a trick on him.

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Sredni Vashtar | 1,800 words

A ten-year-old boy, Conradin, seeks refuge from his cousin and guardian by playing in a tool shed. He has two pets there, a hen and a ferret. He imagines the ferret is a god.

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The Storyteller | 2,000 words

Three young children are riding the train with their aunt. They are active and inquisitive; their aunt has trouble keeping them occupied. She tries telling a story, but the kids don’t care for it. A bachelor riding in the same carriage thinks he can entertain the kids with a story.

“The Storyteller”

Tea | 1,600 words

James, a bachelor, feels the public pressure to settle down and find a wife.

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Tobermory | 2,800 words

At a party at a country house, a guest announces that he can teach animals to speak. As proof, he produces the host’s cat, Tobermory, who proceeds to embarrass the guests by revealing details of private conversations.

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The Toys of Peace | 1,900 words

Eleanor doesn’t want her children playing with toy guns or soldiers. She asks her brother to give her children peaceful toys for Easter. They’re not sure what to make of the gift.

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The Unrest Cure | 2,220 words

A man and his wife dislike any change in their regular routine. After telling a stranger about this on a train, he recommends an “unrest cure”, where they would do something completely unusual for a while. Their life soon gets thrown into chaos.

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As I come across more Saki short stories they will be added to this page.