Hi all, as some of you may know we are having a few probs getting the book sorted for our next reading circle so in the meantime, here is a mini reading circle with a short pony story set in the world of polo by Rudyard Kipling. As it is out of copyright it can be read free on the internet. See link below:
I've probably had a deprived childhood...I've never read any Rudyard Kipling
So this was a treat for me. I thought it was a good story with a nice touch of humour . I'm not really interested in Polo and know nothing about it but I certainly wasn't bored and it kept me interested. I like stories told from the horses point of view.
I'm not sure if I'd read it all before- the version in a short story collection I had was abbreviated to just the last third, from where Lutyens is injured.
It is indeed pacy, as a short story should be. The mannerisms and personalities of the ponies are beautifully done; I love the way the riders are mostly passengers, with the ponies reading the game and making the decisions.
I particularly liked "they were a team of crack players instead of a crack team"- England footballers take note.....
Loved the story in that you really felt you were playing in the game. Suspending disbelief in what really happens to lame polo ponies, I adored the ending! One surprise was when they said that 13'3hh was the height limit - surely nowadays it is at least 15hh? Do we have any polo players (or groupies!) on the board ..........!?
Rescuing one animal does not change the world, but the world surely changes for that one animal.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring- it was peace ~
Sorry to be so late arriving to this discussion....have been having DSL (internet) problems for days now....apparently high humidity can affect connectivity (outside humidity, not inside, so no control over it!)
Now, where to begin? I LOVE this story.
Kipling was clearly a keen observer of ponies....the bits about the hot blooded expensive ponies getting irritated and lathered playing a close, slow game, football as he called it, and being nervous playing on the borders of a "box of humans" as they pressed in during the last match ring true, as does the observation that a blinkered pony can't brace against a blow that he can't see.
I loved the way the various ponies characters are revealed in lightning sketches:
"‘Not me,’ said the Maltese Cat politely. ‘I was at Malta then, pulling a vegetable cart. I don’t race. I play the game.'" - (Proud as a lion of what he does well, but no false pride in anything else)
‘It makes me feel undersized and unhappy all the same,’ said Kittiwynk, a mouse-coloured mare with a red browband and the cleanest pair of legs that ever an aged pony owned." And later: "Kitty was talking with the neck of a leather-covered soda-water bottle between her teeth and trying to look over her withers at the same time. This gave her a very coquettish air."
Above, under and through all is the language.....you could get drunk on Kipling's prose, which is so often poetic.
Not "Who's Who had been known to nip", but "‘No biting,’ said the Maltese Cat warningly, for once or twice in his career Who’s Who had been known to forget himself in that way."
Not "I once cleverly jumped a cart pole and won the match", but "I went over the pole of a four-in-hand once, and picked a game out of the dust by it."
‘They’re chargers — cavalry chargers! ‘said Kittiwynk indignantly. ‘They’ll never see thirteen-three again.’ - (Very like a woman cattily remarking on anothers' age "She'll never see twenty again!")
The effective use of repitition, more common in poetry than prose:
"They had good reason to be proud, and better reason to be afraid"
"The black who had been driven nearly crazy by his blinkers trusted to his weight and his temper; But Benami knew how to apply his weight and how to keep his temper."
".....a wise little, plain little, gray little head looked in through the open door."
Oops.....this post is starting to look like a dissertation ;D ;D ;D
I enjoyed reading your post susan. Yes, the writing is much better than most of the pony stories we usually read. As much as I love JMB and the PTs you can't really put them in the same class of writer as Kipling! I want to say more but am too knackered now so will have to wait til tomorrow.
Funnily enough susan, the weather has been playing havoc with my laptop too as it keeps overheating and cutting off all the time and then it won't boot up without a load of fiddling around. Which is why I am on here so late and too tired to write anything of any sense. (What's new i hear you all cry)
I totally agree with susans analysis regarding the character sketches of the ponies. In a short story its hard to fit in much in the way of character development and sometimes its left out entirely. But Kipling gives each pony a chracter with just a few words. I also think its nice that a 'non-pony' author endows the ponies with so much character when some pony authors can only manage to create card-board cut-out equines.
Sometimes stories from the pony point of view can be a bit of a snore-fest (try 'Three White Stockings' if you want a cure for imsomnia), with the same tired old Black Beauty or Moorland Mousie scenario, but this is really different. I like the way the ponies are in charge of things and I think it would be quite fun to read a story set in the showjumping or racing world in which the ponies ran the show there too! It reminds me a little of a Pullein-Thompson short story in which the ponies try and arrange things so they get the riders they want but they are not so successful as the Maltese Cat and Co. (Sorry forgot name of story will add it later if I can remember)
Its also nice to have a pony story which is set in a different location to the norm and about a topic which is not tackled very often. I do think the author skimmed a little over the more brutal aspects of polo, undoubtedly there were men like Lutyens who cared about their mounts but from what I have heard many people ran their polo ponies into the ground. And as kunuma says the ending where Maltese Cat lives a life of happy retirement is prob not very realistic! But a nice ending none-the-less.
My only quibble with the story is that I found it slightly confusing in places and couldn't follow the polo match all the time, and I think there were a few too many characters to follow for a short story. Other than that an excellent & interesting short story.
My favourite Kipling story as a kid was Rikki Tikki Tavey (spelling!) about the mongoose. I just found it on the internet and had a quick look and it was really quite violent - must have had bloodthirsty tendancies as a kiddywink! Anyone else read it?
Claire, I grew up on all the Jungle Book stories, Rikki Tikki Tavi was one of them....from where I sit, I can see my gorgeous leather bound edition (bit of luck there, picked it up cheap at a used book store, and I had a gift certificate, so basically it was free!).
Of the other, non Mowgli, stories in the books (there were two, The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book, though you often find them bound together these days), the other best-beloved was Kotik, the White Seal, in which Kotik looks for a place where the seals can live without being hunted for their coats. Like RTT, it ends well, but is realistically violent in places.
Re the many characters and action....I've read this so many times that I don't remember if I was confused the first time! I can say this, it's one that you can return to again and again, and it only gets better :-)
Almost forgot....re bloodthirsty tendencies....um, have you read Beatrix Potter lately? The Victorians were NOT all hearts and flowers!
Thanks for this Claire. I did enjoy re-reading this story; The Jungle Book was one of my favourites growing up. Is it because I am older but I did not remember just how dangerous that polo game was and how the ponies and riders seem to be injured a lot. I mean all I see of polo here is one of the royals falling off his horse and getting mixed up in hooves and walking away unscathed. (They never show where everything goes right!) I just remembered it as a story of a brave little horse! This proves how beneficial it is to read these well loved pony stories as an adult! Anyway, it was a lovely read. Thank you!
fizz: Is it too late to read the Francis book and watch the film?
Aug 17, 2017 22:08:46 GMT 1
fizz: My show went well, good to have being painting again
Aug 17, 2017 22:09:07 GMT 1
Claire: Glad the show went well, wish I could paint! Yes, join in with the film and book any time you want.
Aug 20, 2017 0:08:05 GMT 1
cally: I need to make $ to emigrate. I can write non fiction, but fiction has me stumped.
Oct 14, 2017 11:52:49 GMT 1
cally: I need to make $ to emigrate, buy a rural property in the Yorkshire Dales area, start an animal rescue sanctuary and a service to take animals in to see the elderly, sick, disabled etc.
Oct 14, 2017 11:54:33 GMT 1
cally: Oh I see how this works now- don't press the return button, eejit. How do I start to write a pony book having read hundreds, and not accidentally or intentionally accidentally 'borrow' ideas?
Oct 14, 2017 11:56:41 GMT 1
Claire: Hi Cally! What great ambitions!!
Oct 14, 2017 20:59:09 GMT 1
cally: My lap top stuffed so am trying to get all my stuff over to slow crap I pad so had to go through log in thing and change password so I hope I come up as me. So this is a test!
Oct 24, 2017 5:27:39 GMT 1
Claire: Yep Cally it's you alright!!
Oct 26, 2017 22:30:22 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all, just to say have put my 2 Christmas 'Pumble' stories in the Christmas 2017 in case anyone fancies a re-read.
Dec 24, 2017 13:48:15 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all apologies for not being around the last few days. Have been away travelling with no intyernet
Mar 8, 2018 13:53:52 GMT 1
Claire: Or even internet lol
Mar 8, 2018 13:54:08 GMT 1
brumby: Hi Claire, what has happened to the Pony Mad book Lovers Website??
Mar 18, 2018 8:23:22 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all sorry the website has been down due to technical problems with web host. All back up and running now!
Mar 22, 2018 19:19:12 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all the offical Reading Challenge thread is now up and running!
Jun 12, 2018 18:08:13 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all just to say have added a few Autumn/Halloween themed quizzes for you
Oct 9, 2018 15:02:48 GMT 1
Claire: Yet more Pooboards problems - sorry it is not letting anyone post as a guest at the moment - will contact them and try and sort it out.
Nov 4, 2018 12:50:07 GMT 1
aud: Can anyone tell me if they know of a Pony book that has a story line with A nesting Pair of Osprey Birds(thats as well as Ponies)i have been told it is either Alisons Island Adventure by Sheila Stewart or one of the Jinney books by patricha Leitch.
Dec 10, 2018 19:03:28 GMT 1
tali: One of the Jinny books has a sub story line of egg stealing so may be the one you are thinking of. It is one of the books that features the character Claire Burnley.
Dec 24, 2018 12:54:11 GMT 1
ginslinger: It is one of the early Jinny books. I only read the first few and I found the storyline upsetting.
Jan 4, 2019 19:17:50 GMT 1