(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

In this short story, Dylan Thomas captures the bravado, friendship, and artistic dreams of his youthful days in Swansea. The story opens with the young schoolboy Dylan teasing old Mr. Samuels. The boys from the school keep Mr. Samuels on guard against their throwing apples and balls into his window. While Dylan rudely stares at the old man, suddenly a strange boy pushes Dylan down an embankment. They proceed to fight, the stranger receiving a bloody nose and Dylan a black eye.

Their battle quickly makes them allies as they see Mr. Samuels egging them on. They both throw gravel at the old man and walk off together as comrades. Dylan’s newfound friend, Dan Jenkyn, says that Dylan has “the best black eye in Wales,” and Dylan admires his friend’s bloody nose.

Dylan spends the rest of the day glorying in his battle scar, enjoying the respect of the local girls and the boys at school. The young boys’ conversation at school then turns to their dreams of owning expensive automobiles, large houses, and harems with “the girls in the gym,” and of smoking fancy cigarettes.

That evening, before he visits his new friend, Dylan describes the small world of his bedroom: It is clearly the room of a young poet, with pictures of William Shakespeare, Walter de la Mare, Robert Browning, Rupert Brooke, and John Greenleaf Whittier (among others) hanging on his walls. He also has a copy of a poem he has published in the newspaper, pasted on his mirror.

As he walks along the street toward Dan’s house, Dylan recites aloud his romantic verse. When he sees a young couple approaching, he quickly changes his recitation into a tune and hums his way past them. As he nears the house, he hears music coming from...

(The entire section is 711 words.)