In this story, Iain Crichton Smith exposes the pointlessness of the kind of petty rivalries that he associates with small, rural, island communities.
Where is this story set?
In a Scottish island community during World War Two
In Edinburgh during World War One
In a mountain village in the 1950s
What is the name of the fat woman?
We are never told her name
Why does the thin woman resent the other women in the village?
They have nicer homes
They didn’t make sacrifices for their children like she did
Her only her son is fighting in the war
Why is the thin woman considered an outsider in the village?
She has only lived there for thirty years
Her husband stole from a neighbour
Her only son is fighting in the war
What kind of animals does Crichton Smith compare both women to?
How do the women know that the elder is carrying a telegram?
A neighbour told them
He only wears his hat when he is delivering one
The paper is a distinctive yellow colour
Why does the thin woman think that the telegram must be for her?
The elder has passed all the other houses in the village
She is the only one with a son in the navy
She had a premonition that this was going to happen
What happens to the Church Elder?
He collapses outside the thin woman’s house
He tears up the telegram
He keeps walking to the next village
What annoys the fat woman about the thin woman?
The way she holds her teacup
The way she speaks
The expensive clothes she wears in church
Why do you think we are never told the name of the village?
The writer didn’t want to upset a particular community
To emphasise the universal nature of war an all communities
The writer was banned from revealing the exact location