About two years ago I read a short story about a Jack-in-the-box that is unused. I believe that he was at the bottom of the toy box and where he came from was unknown.

In the house were a bunch of kids. If I can remember the oldest died in World War One. It took place in a nursery in the attic of an 19th century house. The kids in the story were about three or four and were scared of Jack. Also the youngest tried to burn the house so he went to a mental hospital thing.

The nursery is infested with rats years later as the Jack waits for the kids.Also I believe that it said that he could wait forever.

It was written in English and I remember reading it in a British Year 7 test from a couple of years earlier, as test prep. I believe it was written by whoever wrote Coraline but I am unsure.


1 Answer 1


This is probably "Don't Ask Jack", indeed by Neil Gaiman.

This is an extremely eerie short story about a jack in the box who lives in an old attic in a creaky old house. The children who live in the house have been deeply effected by Jack their experience with Jack who are told things by jack that they "can't quite remember and can't quite forget".

Found by searching for Gaiman "Jack in a box"

A reading of the story on Youtube

After listening to the video, it fits all of your details including the child who died in the war, the one declared insane after he was found in the basement with fire-starting materials, the nursery full of rats and the statement that Jack "could wait forever" for the children.

  • Yes i listened to the video and that is it thank you @FuzzyBoots
    – Hermione Granger
    Oct 9, 2018 at 19:27

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