The Toys of Peace and Other Papers

Saki

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This is the last collection of short stories written by the witty British author, Hector Hugh Munro, better known by his pen names "Saki" or "H. H. Munro", compiled posthumously by his friend, Rothay Reynolds.

The title story is a humorous tale of trying to indoctrinate young boys with a culture of peace rather than war, by a mother and her brother, Harvey, who give her boys "peace toys" for Easter instead of toy guns, tin soldiers, and the like. Excerpt:

"A quantity of crinkly paper shavings was the first thing that met the view when the lid was removed; the most exiting toys always began like that. Harvey pushed back the top layer and drew forth a square, rather featureless building.

"'It’s a fort!' exclaimed Bertie. ...

"'It’s a municipal dust-bin,' said Harvey hurriedly; 'you see all the refuse and litter of a town is collected there, instead of lying about and injuring the health of the citizens.'"

The boys were not impressed by such gifts as tin statues of economists, scientists, sanitary inspectors, and politicians, rather than soldiers and heroes; models of municipal buildings rather than forts; toy hoes instead of toy guns. Left to play with the new politically correct toys, the boys manage to completely thwart the plan, to the frustration of the well-meaning adults.

There are 33 stories in all, plus an introduction about the...

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