In “The Lumber Room” by Saki, the aunt spends her day attempting to keep Nicholas out of the gooseberry garden.
The aunt had many other things to do that afternoon, but she spent an hour or two in trivial gardening operations among flower beds and shrubberies, whence she could watch the two doors that led to the forbidden paradise.
After Nicholas outwits the adults, he is left at home with his cousins’ aunt while the other children are treated to an expedition to the beach. The aunt is intent on teaching Nicholas a lesson, but her plans backfire. As part of the punishment for being “in disgrace,” Nicholas is forbidden from entering the inner walls of the garden. To insure he does not find his way into the garden, the aunt guards both of the garden doors by doing simple outdoor tasks.
Nicholas has no intention of entering the area, but he tricks the aunt into thinking his intent is to defy her ultimatum. She stays vigilant until Nicholas seems to disappear. He is in the house exploring “The Lumber Room.” Eventually, she realizes he is gone, and thinks he scaled the garden wall. She runs into the garden and falls into the water trough.
In the end, who is punished, Nicholas or the aunt?