13 short stories by Steinbeck, published in 1938. “The Red Pony” and “Saint Katy the Virgin” had previously appeared in separate editions.
Set in towns and on farms of the Salinas Valley in California, these realistic tales are mainly concerned with the relations of people with growing things, and dramatize the author's frequently mystical concept of animal and vegetable nature. “The Red Pony” presents three episodes in the boyhood of Jody Tiflin, a farm boy whose knowledge of life matures through his loss of a beloved red pony, his meeting with the mysterious paisano Gitano, and the death of a mare during the birth of her colt.“The Snake” tells of a woman's morbid obsession with the natural functions of a captive male rattlesnake. “The Leader of the People,” which has the same characters as “The Red Pony,” is concerned with the pathetic old age of Jody's pioneer grandfather. “Saint Katy the Virgin,” in a different mood and style, is an ironic parable of medieval times, telling of the conversion and beatification of a brood sow.
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John Steinbeck (1902—1968) American novelist