The Lumber Room

by Saki

Start Free Trial

How does Nicholas spend his time in the lumber room in Saki's "The Lumber Room"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In “The Lumber Room” by Saki, Nicholas implements his plan to enter the forbidden room while his aunt searches for him in the gooseberry garden. Being just a little boy, Nicholas practiced using a key for days before he had the opportunity to use the real one to enter the lumber room.

While he was in the room, Nicholas was treated to a variety of items that brought him great delight and intrigue. One of the first things he did was to examine the scene depicted on a piece of tapestry. To the little boy, the scene of a hunt came to life as he imagined the sights and sounds associated with the hunter aiming the bow and arrow at a stag as dogs joined in the hunt. But, the boy could see what the hunter could not. There were wolves descending on the man and dogs, which left Nicholas wondering how the story would unfold.

First and foremost there was a piece of framed tapestry that was evidently meant to be a fire-screen. To Nicholas it was a living, breathing story; he sat down on a roll of Indian hangings, glowing in wonderful colours beneath a layer of dust, and took in all the details of the tapestry picture. 

The tapestry was not the only object of delight in the room. There were dust covered rugs, lamps, paintings, pieces of china, candlesticks, and a variety of books. In addition, there was a plain bound book, which Nicholas thought would not hold any interest for him. But when he opened it, it was filled with pictures of exotic birds, the likes of which he had never seen.

Less promising in appearance was a large square book with plain black covers; Nicholas peeped into it, and, behold, it was full of coloured pictures of birds.

Nicholas spent his time in the lumber room enraptured by its contents of curiosities.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.  

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on