A simple yet hardly simplistic depiction of old Britain—one of Kipling’s finest.
When Una and Dan act out ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ three times over on the very night’s eve, they magic out Puck, the last of the Old Things in Britain. With his help they see and hear all sorts of things from Britain’s past: they meet Parnesius, the Centurion of the Thirtieth, who served on Hadrian’s Wall; they meet Sir Richard, a Norman knight, and hear all of his tales; and many other characters of history. With Puck and their curiosity to guide them, the two children see and hear Britain come alive.
The issue of morality is never addressed, but good standards are upheld throughout the book. Mercy is mixed with justice, kindness with cunning, and the like.
Some of the characters discussed set themselves up as pagan gods, but they never were gods, and when people stop believing in them the characters are forced to go about honest jobs to earn their living like everyone else.
Saints are discussed in passing, from time to time. For the majority of the time span covered, Roman Catholicism is the dominant Christian view, but this is never a direct issue of the plot. Judaism is touched upon briefly, but again, this is hardly the thrust of the story’s message.
There is some violence peppered throughout the story, some battles and scuffles, but nothing is described in detail.
Drug and Alcohol Content
There are mentions of drinking, and some mentions of drunkenness. A physician uses his medicines to cause a rash on people as a diversion.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
Kipling’s style is at once deep and simple. The writing in Puck of Pook’s Hill is very intellectual and stylish, but without being heavy-handed and dull. His descriptions of places and people bring Old England alive to the imagination of the reader. Each character, plucked out of his bed in history, is unique and lively, with his own story to tell, his own time in history to bring alive. As if Kipling had Oak, Ash, and Thorn at his disposal, the reader forgets his own time when reading of the characters in Puck of Pook’s Hill.