Image: TJ Paris
Great Uncle Mortimer had a reading room in his house. As kids we were forbidden to go in there as Great Uncle considered us uncultured and sullied children incapable of appreciating such a room.
What Great Uncle really wanted was the shield us from the imps who inhabited the tops shelves of his vast bookcases.
These were very small folk who took unkindly to any one coming too close. It wasn’t unusual, so it was said, to find yourself sitting quietly and suddenly be hit from behind by a book flung from a high shelf. If they didn’t like you it could be a Shakespeare Complete Works that took you out.
Great Uncle said he had an agreement with them that no children would ever be allowed into the room. Great Uncle’s son Lyle had gone in and was never seen again.
It did explain why Great Uncle would often come out of the reading room wearing his pith helmet.