What is the most important thing in the lumber room that Nicholas enters in Saki's story, "The Lumber Room"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The last lines of Saki's short story, "The Lumber Room," provide the reader with the answer to this question:

...it was just possible, [Nicholas] considered, that the huntsman would escape with his hounds while the wolves feasted on the stricken stag.

Clearly, the tapestry which acts as a fire-screen greatly delights the imagination of the ingenious prankster Nicholas, who steals into the lumber room and finds wonderful things:

First and foremost there was a piece of framed tapestry....

This tapestry which depicts a stag shot at close range by a hunter with his dog, equipped with mere bow and arrow, who in another part of the design appears to be in harm's way as a pack of hungry wolves look on while he stands with a mere two arrows left, greatly intrigues Nicholas. And, after the success of his clever prank of pretending to not recognize his aunt and, thus, be able to leave her in the water tank, the imaginative Nicholas feels more confident of the future, surmising that like the hunter, he, too, may eschew the harm of the predatory aunt, who is symbolized by the wolves, and live to use his arrow-like wit in order to strike his victim down by outwitting her in her strict, and often foolish, pronouncements and unreasonable punishments.


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