James Herriot

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James Herriot was the pen name of James Alfred Wight (3 October 191623 February 1995), a veterinarian and writer. His best-known works are his semi-autobiographical stories, often referred to collectively as All Creatures Great and Small.

On his fame

On writing

  • "For years I used to bore my wife over lunch with stories about funny incidents. The words 'My book,' as in 'I'll put that in it one day,' became a sort of running joke. Eventually she said, 'Look, I don't want to offend you, but you've been saying that for 25 years. If you were going to write a book, you'd have done it. You're never going to do it now. Old vets of 50 don't write books.' So I purchased a lot of paper right then and started to write."[1]

On being a vet

  • "I love writing about my job because I loved it, and it was a particularly interesting one when I was a young man. It was like holidays with pay to me."[1]
  • "Years ago, farmers were uneducated and eccentric and said funny things, and we ourselves were comparatively uneducated. We had no antibiotics, few drugs. A lot of time was spent pouring things down cows' throats. The whole thing added up to a lot of laughs. There's more science now, but not so many laughs."[1]

On retirement

  • "There was no last animal I treated. When young farm lads started to help me over the gate into a field or a pigpen, to make sure the old fellow wouldn't fall, I started to consider retiring. The great moment was one day when I was stitching up a cow's teats--they often get cut, you know--and my glasses were sliding down my nose. Suddenly I thought, Wight, you're too old for this. But it was a gradual transition. I just did less and less. It must be terrible to have a job you very much love chopped off."[1]

On cats

  • "Cats are connoisseurs of comfort."[2]


  1. a b c d e Margolis, Jonathan (Dec. 12, 2002). "But It Did Happen To A Vet". Time Magazine
  2. Herriot, James (1994). James Herriot's Cat Stories. ISBN 0-7181-3852-X.  (in the introduction and in "Moses Found Among the Rushes")
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