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ID
b253
Title
"Great Uncle Crow."
Genre
Story
Page Count
10
Word Count
2450
Publisher
Evening News
Trident
Publication Year
1957
Document Types
Autobiographical
Comic Fiction
Topics
Boyhood

The narrator and his grandfather visit an eccentric uncle, "the most remarkable fisherman in the world," at his river hut made of beer barrels and sheet tin. Together they enjoy watercress, moor-hens' eggs, bread, butter, and spring water, while the men continuously take swigs of "neck-oil" to keep their gullets from rusting. The story resembles the Uncle Silas tales in depicting an admiring boy and an uncle who loves his drink, food, and freedom. Uncle Crow is based on Bates's Uncle Rook, whom Bates however would describe in Flowers and Faces (9-10) as "a tall gloomy sepulchral man...[who] looked about as likely to catch a fish as an elephant." In the Evening News (October 19, 1957, with title "Uncle Crow), The Watercress Girl and Other Stories (1959), Seven by Five/The Best of H.E.Bates (1963), The Poison Ladies and Other Stories (1976), The Best of H.E. Bates (1980), Elephant's Nest in a Rhubarb Tree & Other Stories (1989). Reprinted in English Short Stories of Today, Third Series (1965), Charmed lives: classic English short stories (1965), Trident (British European Airways in-flight magazine, April 1969), Working with Short Stories (1991).