The Flying Yorkshireman And nine other stories about Sam Small

The Flying Yorkshireman And nine other stories about Sam Small

by Eric Knight

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Overview

This saga of the life and times of Sam Small and his mates was mostly
written when the world was a happier place. Bits of it were published in
big and little magazines in England, the United States, Canada, and
Australia. These bits were written--or rather they made themselves up--at
various times and places; mostly when I was very homesick or feeling low
or hopeless and wanted to cheer myself up.

When a man has little else to rely on, I think he falls back on his blood
and background. And so, curiously enough, nearly all of these stories
were written five and six thousand miles away from my native Yorkshire.
It was mostly being homesick, I think.

I like to feel that these stories are original with me, but to be
truthful they were created by my blood and background. For they are just
the same kind of stories that Yorkshire people have made up to tell for
who knows how many generations.

The Yorkshire people, as you may gather from these tales, are a very
wonderful lot. (So are Texans and Nova Scotians and so on--but I'm
Yorkshire.) Yorkshire people are truly full of fine, strong virtues. Life
is often hard for them, so they cling to those virtues--courage,
patience, truth, sticking it out as best you may--and they pass them on
to their children by example and precept--and by story.

When I was young they told me a lot of stories about Sam Small. He was
fabulous--the epitome of all that was Yorkshire. He was a folk tale.

You may notice that Sam's character is quite flexible. Sometimes he is
just an ordinary mortal, limited by human abilities--and then suddenly
sometimes he seems godlike, like a dream come true. Don't let that worry
you. Fiction is just dreaming out loud, that's all. Tangle-wood Tales,
John Henry, Paul Bunyan, Superman, Sam Small--they're all the
subconscious desire of man to be nearer the angels. And Sam could do
anything in my childhood.

One day I had my first bad toothache. (We didn't go to a dentist, I don't
think there was one for miles around. ) My aunt said: "We'll rub it with
a bit o' laudanum, lad--and if tha just bides patient it'll go away."

While I bided, she told me the story about Sam Small training his
frightened pup--trying to make it into a real, fighting Yorkshire kind of
dog. He teased it so much that in desperation it bit his nose one night,
and what is more, it held on. His friend, hearing the row, came in, and
Sam roared for him to pry the dog loose.

"Nay, Sam," said the friend. "Bide it, lad, for it'll be t' makin' o' t'
pup."

You might try this story on yourself as alleviation for your next
toothache. But it's the Yorkshire way, a typical example: biding what
fate brings in undying faith that if you stick it out, there'll be better
times to come.

I suppose it was all that, the ineradicable influences during childhood,
that made up these stories. Wherever I was--under palms and blue-gum
trees in California, or looking down on the Hudson Valley where the
thunderstorms come booming along, or cooped up in some apartment in a
city, or farming in the red hills of Pennsylvania--these stories would
evolve and I'd hang them on Sam Small.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013757950
Publisher: WDS Publishing
Publication date: 01/12/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 1,132,283
File size: 203 KB

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