How does Nicholas spend his time in the lumber room?
Having cleverly out-smarted his self-pontificating aunt, as she believes he will try to enter the forbidden gooseberry garden, Nicholas enters the lumber room, which is always locked, but he has discovered the key on the molding above the door. There, he delights in the various artistic items and gives flight to his imagination and creates a narrative from the images on a tapestry that is inside.
Nicholas takes great delight in examining twisted candlesticks fashioned in the shape of snakes, a teapot that resembles a china duck with its beak as the pour spout--a teapot that Nicholas thinks this is much more interesting than the shapeless one used in the nursery--and a beautiful, carved sandalwood box containing brass figures of goblins, peacocks, and Brahma bulls. Then he discovers a plain-covered book that, once opened, contains a panorama of resplendent birds, some of which Nicholas has observed in the gardens. As he looks at a mandarin duck, Nicholas "assigns a life-history to it."
But, it is the tapestry which delights Nicholas the most, as his creative nature is freed with the narrative he imagines from the picture of
A man, dressed in the hunting costume of some remote period, had just transfixed a stag with an arrow....
Nicholas wonders if the hunter will be able to claim the deer if his arrow makes its mark because, even though he has a dog at his heels, there are four wolves lurking behind trees who may attempt to lay claim to the prey. Indeed, there is the potential for danger in these images. It is only the shrieks of his aunt that interrupt Nicholas's reverie.