It was their first summer in boots, and they hated them, so they took them off, and slung them round their necks, and paddled joyfully over the dripping turf where the shadows lay the wrong way, like evening in the East. The sun was well up and warm, but by the brook the last of the night mist still fumed off the water.

This is an extract from "Rewards and Fairies" by Rudyard Kipling.

I can not understand the meaning of:

"the dripping turf where the shadows lay the wrong way, like evening in the East."

What does "the shadows lay the wrong way" mean?


A possible hint comes earlier in the passage: "they forgot it was Midsummer Morning". Other hints that it is early in the morning are "dripping turf" (from morning dew) and "last of the night mist".

A strange thing happens during the summer in higher latitudes (e.g. the UK where this story takes place). The days get very long, and the light in the early mornings can have that twilight quality of dusk.

Usually, one expects their shadow to fall to the east in the evening, but, if the lighting is dusk-like and it is actually early in the morning, one's shadow will fall to the west. The wrong way around.

It is also during this time in early morning when the lighting is more mysterious due to atmospheric filtering of the sun's light.


This is a tricky one. I'll try to explain what I understood from this context.

"the dripping turf.."

What does that mean? 'dripping' means to have water and 'turf' means the ground or the floor. Since this context has a 'brook' in it, I'm guessing the event is happening on a riverside. Naturally the water splashes and the land (referred to as 'turf', here) beside a brook or a river is bound to be wet. So beside the brook, were the subjects were walking is wet, and is referred to as "dripping turf".

"...where the shadows lay the wrong way, like evening in the East"

This part is really tricky. From what I've understood, the time of this event is early morning. But the subjects feel like it's late in the evening, when the sun sets in the west and your shadow is cast in the opposite direction. However, it is actually the morning, even though it feels like it's late in the evening. Thus, the shadows looks like they are cast in the wrong direction and that the sun sets in the east, where as, in reality, the sun is rising.

NOTE: This is just one interpretation. This need not be what Kipling intended.


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