December 18 ~  A Little Inaccuracy Best of Saki: H.H. Munro

"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanations." ~ Saki, The Square Egg


Master of the short story, Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916), was born on this day in Akyab, Burma (now Myamar). The youngest of three, he was raised in England by two maiden aunts.

A frail and only child, he later characterized his upbringing in Sredni Vashtar, "Without his imagination, which was rampant under the spur of loneliness, he would have succumbed long ago."

He took his pen name, Saki from the character who served wine to the gods in the poem Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

"I always say beauty is only sin deep," he once said.

The mild-mannered Englishman became a popular journalist and political satirist for the Morning Post, Westminster Gazette, and others before concentrating on writing short stories.

Often compared to O. Henry, Saki created stories with razor-sharp wit. His memorable surprise endings could be funny, super-natural, or frightening.

"In baiting a mouse trap with cheese," he said, "always leave room for the mouse."

His first novel, The Unbearable Bassington (1912), was crafted with an ironic view of the pretention of Edwardian upper class materialism.

His life ended as ironically as one of his crafted tales: Refusing a commission in World War I, he enlisted and was shot by a sniper in the attack on the French village of Beaumont Hamel.

Okay, so we all make mistakes...