About the BookRudyard Kipling’s works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”; “Three and An Extra”; “On Greenhow Hill”; “The Limitations of Pambé Serang”; “The Disturber of Traffic”; “The Record of Badalia Herodsfoot”; “The Ship that Found Herself”; and “The Maltese Cat”, among many others.
“Baa Baa, Black Sheep” is a semi-autobiographical short story that deals with the unkind treatment that Kipling received between the ages of 6 and 11 in a foster home in Southsea. “Three and An Extra” is the earliest appearance of the character, Mrs. Hauksbee in Kipling’s books. It was first published in the Civil and Military Gazette in 1886, and first in book form in Plain Tales from the Hills, in 1888. It reports a defeat of “the clever, witty, brilliant and sparkling” Mrs. Hauksbee by Mrs. Cusack-Bremmil—in the former’s predatory pursuit of Mr. Cusack-Bremmil. His only slum story, “The Record of Badalia Herodsfoot” was published in 1890. It is based on Kipling’s observation of London’s lower classes. Set in the East End, it recounts the story of a young, honest woman who becomes a relief worker in the slums after being deserted by her abusive husband.
Kipling’s short stories remain in print and have garnered high praise from writers like Poul Anderson, Jorge Luis Borges, and Randall Jarrell who wrote: “After you have read Kipling’s fifty or seventy-five best stories you realize that few men have written this many stories of this much merit, and that very few have written more and better stories.”