"Baa Baa Black Sheep”

Time of Gifts, introductory letter to Xan Fielding, page 3.

“This period of separation was the opposite of the ordeal Kipling describes in Baa Baa Black Sheep”

Baa Baa Black Sheep is a semi-autobiographical short story by Rudyard Kipling, published in 1888.  In this harrowing piece, the experience of young Kipling and his sister, recently removed from a happy family life in India to dreary boarding house in Southsea.  As was common in the period, the children of the British establishment in India were sent home, in Kipling’s case at five years old, to be formally educated.  Alas for Kipling his foster family was brutally abusive, and the already difficult transition from life with parents in India to alone in England, looking after his 3 year old sister, was exacerbated.  This is one of Kipling’s most affecting short stories and really is the very opposite of the Northamptonshire idle that Paddy describes.

Further Reading

Pinney, Thomas. 2016 "Kipling, (Joseph) Rudyard (1865–1936), writer and poet." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.