Then the child began to cry. From a little wail its crying rose into a tempest of despair. The girl rocked it to and from on her lap, but nothing soothed it. All the woe of a child's world flooded its tiny voice. Stop it, stop it, said the Fat Man, and the tears increased. Annie smothered it in kisses, but its wild cry broke on her lips like water on rocks. We must do something, she said. Sing it a lullabee. She sang, but the child did not like her singing.

Dylan Thomas, 'After the Fair,' from Adventures In The Skin Trade, New Directions, 1964, p. 56.

TIME: Indeterminate

PLACE: Wales

CIRCUMSTANCE: the girl nurses a found baby



Start the engine, she called out. In the distance the Fat Man could be heard cranking up the antique machine that drove the horses all day into a wooden gallop. She heard the sudden spasmodic humming of the engine; the boards rattled under the horses' feet. She saw the Fat Man clamber up by her side, pull the central lever and climb onto the saddle of the smallest horse of all. As the roundabout started, slowly at first and slowly gaining speed, the child at the girl's breast stopped crying, clutched its hands together, and crowed with joy. The night wind tore through its hair, the music jangled in its ears. Round and round the wooden horses sped, drowning the cries of the wind with the beating of their wooden hooves.

Dylan Thomas, 'After the Fair,' from Adventures In The Skin Trade , New Directions, 1964, p. 57.

TIME: Indeterminate

PLACE: Wales

CIRCUMSTANCE: Annie and the Fat Man ride a roundabout in the circus in the night



It was morning in the green acres of the Jarvis valley, and Mr. Owen was picking the weeds from the edge of his garden path. A great wind pulled at his beard, the vegetable world roared under his feet. A rook had lost itself in the sky, and was making a noise to its mate; but the mate never came, and the rook flew into the west with a woe in its beak ... No stranger set foot in the valley. Mr. Owen, walking lonely through the country, had come upon it at the end of a late summer evening when the cattle were lying down still, and the stream that divided it was speaking over the pebbles.

Dylan Thomas, 'The Enemies,' from Adventures In The Skin Trade, New Directions, 1964, p. 58.

TIME: Indeterminate

PLACE: Wales

CIRCUMSTANCE: an old man and his farm