The Feast Of Nemesis by Saki, 1914
The magic trick:
Spinning the holiday spirit on its head for a cynical Christmas story
If this sixth day of SSMT Christmas finds you a little bit exhausted by the holiday hub-bub, perhaps today’s featured story is just what you need. Saki pursues a very funny, if very cynical, idea for a Christmas story. His Feast of Nemesis suggests that rather than faking kindness with friends you don’t really like, use the holidays as a time to be mean to your enemies. Is it a good idea? No. Is it a funny one? Yes. And that’s quite a trick on Saki’s part.
“I should call it reconstructing the punishment,” said Mrs. Thackenbury; “and, anyhow, I don’t see how you could introduce a system of primitive schoolboy vengeance into civilised adult life. We haven’t outgrown our passions, but we are supposed to have learned how to keep them within strictly decorous limits.”
“Of course the thing would have to be done furtively and politely,” said Clovis; “the charm of it would be that it would never be perfunctory like the other thing…”