Thomas Hardy wrote this engaging seasonal story for The Father Christmas Annual
in 1877, which was very early in his career. One can just imagine the family sitting by the fireside after the big Christmas lunch, and listening as one member of the family read the story (set in the Wessex countryside he knew so well). By this time, he was already making his mark as a writer. One of his greatest achievements, Far From the Madding Crowd
was published three years earlier. The Thieves Who Couldn't Stop Sneezing
was probably an enjoyable diversion for Hardy from serious and much longer novels.
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