Short Stories

Editor: Tiffany Brooke Martin

The Lake of Nix (A Fairy Story) (c. 1920-30s)

In Barfield’s papers at the Bodleian Library (Dep. c. 1083), the story is about a man and woman who dislike soup, marry each other, and choose to eat ice instead. They find ice to be extremely economical and raise their children to eat only ice as well, which causes some undesirable consequences.

The Child and the Giant (1930)

Barfield wrote this fairy tale in 1930 while teaching at a Steiner school, but it was not published until 1988 in Child and Man: Education as an Art (now known as Steiner Education) and has since been reprinted in English and German. The story concerns an orphan boy who lives with a Giant in the forest; after a tragedy, the child must grow up and learn from his experience.

A Story for Alexander (c. 1930s)

Written for Barfield’s son Alexander, the story is about a little boy whose parents are imprisoned, and he is sent to live far from home with other children. The text is transcribed from the manuscript at the Bodleian Library (Barfield Papers, Dep. c. 1083).

Editors: J. H. Taylor & L. A. Taylor

A Fable (1980)

This short, whimsical allegory is written out in Owen Barfield’s hand on ruled paper and dated the 5th of February 1980 (5.2.80) in the same ink as the composition—about three months into Barfield’s 81st year. The playfulness of the text is similar to works such as The Unicorn and the light-hearted shorter poems. Yet under the jesting tone the allegorical suggestion is easily found. The ‘fabulous’ treasure belongs to both the human and the divine as a link of eternal love and mercy. For the three-fold philosopher, poet, and faun does not answer with the dismissive voice of a disappointed mentor—and the true reply is best only hinted at and felt in each heart.