Beasts and Super-Beasts by Saki Page 1 of 220
"The Open Window," "The Schartz-Metterklume Method," and "Clovis on Parental Responsibilities," originally appeared in the Westminster Gazette, "The Elk" in the Bystander, and the remaining stories in the Morning Post. To the Editors of these papers I am indebted for their courtesy in allowing me to reprint them.
H. H. M.
Leonard Bilsiter was one of those people who have failed to find this world attractive or interesting, and who have sought compensation in an "unseen world" of their own experience or imagination-or invention. Children do that sort of thing successfully, but children are content to convince themselves, and do not vulgarise their beliefs by trying to convince other people.
Leonard Bilsiter's beliefs were for "the few," that is to say, anyone who would listen to him.
His dabblings in the unseen might not have carried him beyond the customary platitudes of the drawing-room visionary if accident had not reinforced his stock-in-trade of mystical lore.
In company with a friend, who was interested in a Ural mining concern, he had made a trip across Eastern Europe at a moment when the great Russian railway strike was developing from a threat to a reality; its outbreak caught him on the return journey, somewhere on the further side of Perm, and it was while waiting for a couple of days at a wayside station in a state of suspended locomotion that he made the acquaintance of a dealer in harness and metalware, who profitably whiled away the tedium of the long halt by initiating his English travelling companion in a fragmentary system of folk-lore that he had picked up from Trans-Baikal traders and natives.