In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "The Wager", the "guest", Avrom Wolf, tells his hosts of a bet when he was a kid that wound up with two people dead. The story leaves off like this:

The guest raised his head. 'Maybe you'll give me another glass of vodka instead?'
'Drink it down, whatever's left.'
'I'm not a drunkard, but when your heart grows bitter you want to forget the sorrow.'
The guest turned up the glass. He grimaced and shook himself. Then he pushed away the bottle and said: 'I'll never tell my story to anyone again..."
(translated by Mirra Ginsburg)

Why does the story end like that? I don't recall the guest mentioning an aversion to telling the story before; why does he decide to never tell the story again after this?

1 Answer 1


Telling the story made his heart grow bitter-- so badly that he wants to get drunk to forget.

He doesn't want to feel that again.

You do not mention whether the story says whether he had told the story for the first time here; if so that would explain that he had not realized the effect it would have. Or, if he had told it before, the circumstances for some reason made it particularly bitter, and he suspects this would continue.

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