The Hunt for Fleas in "The Beggar's Hunt" by W. H. Davies

In the magazine, The Blue Review Vol 1, No 1, on pages twenty four to twenty seven, there is a story called,"The Beggar's Hunt" by W. H. Davies, and it is about our main character encountering a poor fellow that is infested with flees, so much so that the man cannot resist scratching himself frequently, as stated from lines thirty three to thirty four,"Soon came to the conclusion that the man was scratching himself, owing to the attack of fleas." This sentiment about this poor man's scratching is the main centerpiece of this story. To provide context, the main character was on a journey, and for whatever reason decided to try and travel with this man that he never knew before, but it could be implied that our main character needed to have a companion, even if it was a flea ridden beggar, which ties into what is believed to be the main theme of this short story. This short story is about how people see outcasts, beggars, and/or the impoverished in general.

The main character, after talking with the beggar and then proceeding to walk with him notes how often he scratches himself which in this story, seems to solidify the beggar's position as someone who is impoverished. The main part of this story that ties with the theme of the negative attitude toward people who are impoverished, comes in this part of the story, when the main character decides that he would wish to go to a tavern,"Even in the very lowest kind of a tavern; where the landlord and his customers would be certain to object to his company." The main character still wishes to give the man a beer for his time. They proceed to go into the tavern, but only on the condition that the beggar won't scratch whatsoever, thematically speaking, to not reveal himself as a beggar, as even the lowest of taverns would kick out someone like the beggar, who is so impoverished that he suffers from flees.

What happens in the tavern is that the beggar cannot resist the urge to scratch himself, thereby revealing himself as a beggar, but instead of the tavern kicking him out, the beggar leaves on his own volition, which makes the main character believe that the beggar has left for good, but later, about twenty minutes after the main character started traveling, the beggar came back, and after some talk back and forth, he proclaimed,"I have been having a lively time at hunting and killing fleas. I shall sleep well after this excitement." The beggar seemed to have managed to cleanse himself of his thematic burden, which of course was the flees.
It seems greatly apparent that in this story, society's negative attitude toward those who are stricken with misfortune, are represented by this man who has earlier stated to have lost his job, and then become ridden with flees. Now that he has gotten rid of these flees, he is able to properly travel with our main character, which implies that it would be too much of a burden for out main character, to deal with a man who has been stricken with flees, that signify his position as a beggar. Overall, the theme of society rejecting and looking down on those who are outcasts or rejects, is incredibly apparent in this story, to others views of the beggar, to his scratching, which represents his societal position, to his eventual cleansing, which relieves himself of this burden and allows the beggar to travel with our main character and, in a way, be accepted back into society.