In “The Lumber Room” by Saki Nicholas is punished in a number of ways for his supposed transgressions. But is he really punished?
During breakfast, Nicholas refuses to eat his milk and bread because there is a frog in it. As he describes the frog in great detail, he is scolded for being obstinate. When the adults realize the frog really exists and it is of Nicholas' own doing, they are angry. His self-appointed aunt hastily plans a trip to Jagborough for the other children, but Nicholas is excluded from the trip. Is this truly a punishment for Nicholas? In the aunt's mind it is, but Nicholas sees it as an opportunity.
While the others are away, the aunt forbids Nicholas from entering the gooseberry garden, which is filled with delightful fruits and plants. Nicholas pretends to want access to the garden. This punishment is meaningless to him because he does not want to go into the garden. It becomes more of a trial for the aunt who spends her whole afternoon patrolling the outer walls of the garden so Nicholas cannot gain entry.
While the aunt is preoccupied, he executes his plan to enter the lumber room, which is filled with tapestries, artwork, and books. He enjoys the delights in the room when he is supposed to be punished for being “in disgrace.”
Although the aunt aimed to punish Nicholas, she is the one who is ultimately penalized by his actions. She fell into the water tank and had to be rescued. On the other hand, Nicholas had a satisfying day exploring the contents of the lumber room.