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Rudyard Kiping (1865–1936) is best known for his Jungle Book, Just So Stories and the poem If. In 1907 he won the Nobel Prize for literature. His The Maltese Cat, a short story about a polo pony, first appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette on 26th and 27th June, 1895. Kipling himself played polo, despite his poor eyesight, and played at Lahore on his grey pony Dolly Bobs.
Published originally in Kipling's short story collection The Day's Work in 1898, and reprinted in many, many pony short story collections since then: the version everyone wants, of course, is the 1936 stand-alone edition published by Macmillan and illustrated by Lionel Edwards. But to hold off on reading this to have a particular edition is to deny yourself the brilliance of Kipling's prose, to hold off meeting The Maltese Cat and Kittiwynk, Polaris and Benami, and all the others. Tomorrow is uncertain ... read the good stuff today.
Finding the book
The Macmillan 1936 first edition, illustrated by Lionel Edwards is generally very expensive indeed. The Lambourn Press Lionel Edwards reprint is quite hard to find, and although much cheaper than the Macmillan edition, can be pricey. The Day’s Work, in which the story first appeared, is very cheap, even as a first edition, and by far the best way of finding the book. It’s now out of copyright, so you can read it free online.s