(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

When a train from Rhodesia stops briefly at a station, its wheels are checked, bread is delivered to the stationmaster’s wife, malnourished animals and poor children approach the train for handouts, and artisans walk alongside the train’s windows, hoping to sell their crafts to the passengers.

The focus soon is on a young woman (the wife) leaning out a corridor window asking to see a lion, beautifully carved by a vendor. The lion is described minutely, its detail revealing the care and love of the artisan. The young husband joins his wife as she admires the lion. The wife considers the price, three shillings and sixpence, to be too high and decides not to buy it. When the husband asks if she is sure she does not want the lion, she tells him to leave it.

She returns to her train compartment still thinking about the lovely lion with the real fur mane and the black tongue. (It seems the lion is too expensive only when considering the many other carved figures she has already purchased.) However, she also has more serious thoughts. It becomes apparent that the wife is newly married, and the train ride seems to be the end of her honeymoon journey. Her trip to all the foreign places seems unreal to her. She wonders what she will do with all the craft items she has bought on her journey; she wonders how the memories and memorabilia will fit in with her new life. Most significant, she realizes that her young husband is not merely part of her...

(The entire section is 405 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

A train is heading toward a small, rural station in Southern Africa. The area around the station is impoverished, as are the people who live...

(The entire section is 531 words.)