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Trying to find the title of an old short story I read roughly 5 years ago. If memory serves, The protagonist was a man in his late 20s to early 30s and the story takes place in Europe shortly before the beginning of World War I. The man traveled to the countryside as per the directions of his physician as a means to get fresh air to remedy his poor health. I can't remember if the character was truly suffering from tuberculosis, but his ailment appeared to be related to his lungs.

Upon arriving at his new town, he goes to pay a visit to the home of a friend's acquaintance that also lived there, and was waiting for tea when a young girl struck up a conversation when the two of them were alone in the parlor.

She tells him about a tragedy that struck the estate a year prior, when a hunting party left one morning and drowned in the swamps behind the property, before leaving the protagonist alone to wait. Her account turns out to be false and is revealed by the narrator to be an on-the-spot fabrication created to make the protagonist believe that he had seen a ghost when he saw the hunting party wander out from the tree line.

The only other detail I can remember was that the author would later die as a result of participating in either the First or the Second World War.

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  • It may not be right for this site but is a great story. User93568 is wrong about the gentleman's condition. He had a terrible problem with his nerves and was sent to the country to get desperately needed rest and relaxation. The question title is also misleading since the gentleman is told the ghost story by what most adults would call a little girl, not by a young woman. – M. A. Golding Dec 13 '17 at 6:52
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This is (I believe) a short tory by Saki (H.H. Munro) called "The Open Window". It seems to be available here. It is a wonderful story, as is almost everything Saki wrote.

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    Can you provide some more details that suggest similarity? Snippets from the text perhaps? – Edlothiad Dec 10 '17 at 20:07
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    @Edlothiad I hesitate to do so since the story is 4 pages long and the summary provided in the initial question covers the entire plot. I encourage everyone to take 4 minutes to read the real thing rather than a collection of snippets. – Jamie Radcliffe Dec 10 '17 at 20:10
  • @JamieRadcliffe in that case, fair enough, although it would take me much more than 4 minutes to read. – Edlothiad Dec 10 '17 at 20:26
  • I remember the story well. As I was reading the original post, I was thinking: "That was by Saki -- but the title escapes me." – Lorendiac Dec 11 '17 at 5:06
  • Yes, this is the story, Thank you! Though as an aside I felt foolish posting this in science fiction and Fantasy by mistake. – user93468 Dec 12 '17 at 12:24

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