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'The Mower'
Page Count
Word Count
Argosy (UK)
This Quarter
Publication Year
Document Types
Original Manuscript (mss)
Age, Sex, Farming

A farmer and his wife get help mowing their field from the lusty and energetic Ponto: 'He swung his scythe with a long light caressing sweep, smoothly and masterfully, as though his limbs had been born to mow.'

Bates captures the heat of summer, the sensuality in Ponto's limitless strength and consumption of beer, and the sexual tension between him and the wife. Ponto bears similarity to Pike in a 'Threshing Day for Esther' and a mower from Bates's childhood, named Smack, is described in much the same terms (The Vanished World, pp. 15, 56).

A manuscript, dated March 1931, is held in the collection of the Lilly Library, Indiana University, USA. (

In This Quarter (September 1931), The Black Boxer Tales (1932), Thirty Tales (1934), The Bride Comes to Evensford and Other Tales (1949), Selected Short Stories of H.E. Bates (1951), Seven by Five / The Best of H.E. Bates (1963), The Poison Ladies and Other Stories (1976). Reprinted in Modern Short Stories of the Open Air (London: Dent, 1936), Selected Modern Short Stories (London: Penguin, 1937), Argosy (February 1943), Short Story Study (London: Edward Arnold, 1961).