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Title: Birthday
Author(s): fawatson
Date(s): 1 May 2008
Length: 4208 words
Genre: backstory
Fandom: Mary Renault
External Links: archived on MRF

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"Birthday" by Florence A. Watson (fawatson) is a short story based on Mary Renault's 1953 novel The Charioteer. It is set on Laurie's twelfth birthday, shortly before he goes away to public school, and describes how he got his dog Gyp.[1]

In "Birthday", the author places Laurie's childhood home in Yorkshire, and supplies him with a best friend, Simon, son of a prosperous local farmer. Laurie's canonical Aunt Olive and Great-Uncle Edward come for his birthday; and the family go to a local breeder to pick up the dog.

The story inspired a flurry of discussion about the use of the terms "dinner", "supper", "lunch/eon" and "tea" across classes in England in the 1930s, as well as a discussion of public lavatories and contemporary lavatory paper.


  1. It should be noted that Laurie's dog Gyp is canonical. In the novel, he mentions several times that he will have to find a way to house Gyp upon his mother's remarriage, only to learn that she has actually had the old dog put down without telling him.