Mary had a Little Lamb

This week was my first creative writing seminar of the semester. The course covers short African fiction stories as well as teaches us how to use our brains creatively in the world of story writing. For our first seminar we were instructed to choose a short story (from any author, any time, written anywhere) that intrigues or compels us, bring a hard copy to class, and discuss why we have chosen this particular story.

I chose to read and discuss Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl (1953) since it is one of my favourite of his adult tales. The story revolves around a woman named Mary Maloney. She is happily married to a police officer with whom she is expecting a child. One day, he arrives home and tells his wife that he is leaving her. In a state of shock, Mary takes a frozen leg of lamb that was intended for the evening’s supper and hits her husband over the head with it – killing him. She puts it into the oven to cook and is able to manipulate the policemen (her husband’s work colleagues and friends) into eating the murder weapon.

I have always had a fascination with this story as I love the use of dark humour, irony and the way in which Mary Maloney is able to manipulate the police officers into eating the murder weapon. So for the first official task of the seminar I am writing a one page story drawing from the irony and dark humour used by Dahl, and writing this story in an African context.


Dahl, R. (1953). Lamb to the slaughter. Britain: Harper’s Magazine.


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