Maybe because they shoot horses?
August 20, 2011 1:52 PM   Subscribe

James Thurber fans, gather 'round. I'm reading his The Years with Ross and in the chapter titled "More Miracle Men" is a Thurber drawing of a star above a horse, and the horse is shedding a tear. I can scarcely believe I'm using a question for this, but I greatly wish to know: Why is the horse crying?
posted by bryon to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Digging out my copy, I recalled my original passing reaction: The NY Times editor Harold W. Ross regretted his mistreatment of Bill Levick, who quit and subsequently died, as Thurber recounts on the pages preceding the illustration.

On re-reading, "A tottery graybeard says he saw Levick one day in the office with tears in his eyes--tears of fury or frustration were not infrequent in some of the men who worked for Ross," I considered an alternative: One could take the horse as Levick and the star as Ross and the rigor Ross demanded.

Or maybe, none of the above.
posted by gregoreo at 3:53 PM on August 20, 2011

I know his granddaughter. I've sent her an email to see if she knows.
posted by wwartorff at 6:08 PM on August 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have no comment except that the above comment is why the Internet is the best thing ever.
posted by TallulahBankhead at 9:32 PM on August 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

The illustration is from "A New Natural History", originally published in "The Beast in Me" and reproduced in "Alarms and Diversions". The animal depicted is the Hopeless Quandary, not a horse.
posted by jet_silver at 11:50 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ah yes, the Hopeless Quandary. It's weeping from despair.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:06 AM on August 21, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers. I'm still holding out to hear what Thurber's granddaughter has to say, but I do feel like we've got this one down. I feel better knowing it's not just an unhappy horse.
posted by bryon at 6:20 PM on August 22, 2011

Still no word from her. I think you've got your answer, though.
posted by wwartorff at 11:52 AM on September 5, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, I do have my answer. Thanks for trying, and thanks again to all.
posted by bryon at 8:45 PM on September 7, 2011

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