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Flight of Fancy

Short Story (1,450 words)

Eight-year-old Peter Letterworth seems to have started telling lies. He comes home with some peaches, saying they were given to him by a man in a helmet carrying a sword. The peaches turn out to have been taken from the vicar's garden. Then a few days later he comes home with wet trousers and claims that the same man, this time riding a white horse, has made him throw back a fish he had caught, throwing a handful of jewellery into the water himself. Could he be telling the truth?

The story is problematic for modern readers, since it is regarded as normal behaviour for the father of an eight-year-old to cane his son for lying.

Evening News, 9 November 1961.
Reprinted as "The boy who told fibs", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine Vol. 53 No 3, March, 1969.

Included in Comedies and Whimsies, ed. John Higgins.