Questions tagged [short-stories]

Questions about stories with a fully developed plot, themes, and characters, but significantly shorter and less detailed than a novel.

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1answer
35 views

Short story about a wealthy man bringing his new wife to his childhood home, from when he was poor, which is in the mountains/wilderness

I'm looking for a short story that I think I listened to as an audiobook, in a collection with other stories, in the early 2000s, checked out from a library in Ashland, KY. I was reminded of this when ...
4
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1answer
428 views

Short story about secret spy betrayed at a secret party, boss got stuck in trap while looking for files

I think I read it five or six years ago from a collection of novels written by one writer. A man is a spy in a secret illegal organization, one day he took part in a secret party, but he had been ...
4
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0answers
75 views

Why is Jacques Kohn wearing a “father-murderer” collar?

In the description of Jacques Kohn in the beginning of Isaac Bashevis Singer's "A Friend of Kafka", he's described as wearing this: Although he still dressed in the style of a dandy, his ...
2
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2answers
58 views

Is Von Bork's “I've been there” the idiomatic expression here, in “His Last Bow”?

I’d like to ask about the sentence from His Last Bow by Conan Doyle. “.. It was on my first arrival. I was invited to a week-end gathering at the country house of a cabinet minister. The conversation ...
6
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1answer
3k views

What does “more than I gave” mean in “I therefore named a price which was £500 more than I gave”?

I’d like to ask about the sentence from The Three Gables by Conan Doyle. .. but naturally I was interested in what he said. I therefore named a price which was £500 more than I gave. Here I’m not ...
4
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0answers
42 views

Why does the Talkative Man's master say that one ought not to play the raga 'punnaga varali' at night?

In the short story The Snake-Song (a part of the collection titled Malgudi Days), the Talkative Man describes an event in his youth that led to him having to abandon his music: the Talkative Man had ...
14
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1answer
940 views

Short story about a detective and criminal who disguise themselves and interact while in pursuit

I read a short story around 1996 in the US. I think it was part of a 5th grade reader book (kind of a compilation of short stories at the appropriate reading level). I remember thinking the story was ...
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0answers
49 views

What is the correct translation of the title “Les Fourmis” by Boris Vian?

The literal translation of "les fourmis" is "the ants". It is one of the titles under which the story was published in English (for example, the translation by Rawdon Corbett). The ...
4
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1answer
73 views

What is the meaning of cleaning the samovar in “To Be Held for Reference” by Rudyard Kipling?

From "To Be Held for Reference" by Rudyard Kipling: “All things considered, I doubt whether you are the luckier. I do not refer to your extremely limited classical attainments, or your ...
1
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0answers
49 views

What's the title of the short story about wife accidentally eating all of her husbands food so she cooked “something” instead?

I am not actually sure if this is a story I have watched, or read, or both. Certainly I have watched it as I have pictures on my mind. Anyway, the plot is: The wife is (I guess) abused by her husband. ...
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4answers
10k views

How could sixty cents of $1.87 be in pennies?

The first three sentences of O. Henry's Gift of the Magi are as follows: One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. I've always wondered about this. This ...
3
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49 views

Katherine Anne Porter's “HE”: What is He?

I recently read Katherine Anne Porter's "He", and, after reading it twice, am still left in the dark about one thing. It is said that "Rolls of fat covered Him like an overcoat", ...
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1answer
125 views

Analyzing Thomas Mcguane's “Balloons”

Recently, The New Yorker came out with Thomas Mcguane's short story "Balloons". It is a short piece of fiction, really. However, it wasn't clear to me what the author intended to convey ...
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1answer
70 views

Is “Doctor Marigold” the nickname of the cheap-jack, or is “Marigold” his real name?

Doctor Marigold is the titular "cheap-jack" in Dickens' Doctor Marigold. Is "Marigold" his real name, with "Doctor" an addition, or is "Doctor Marigold" a ...
3
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0answers
46 views

Tragedy About Bear Whose Mom Died

Trigger warning: story deals with death, depression, graphic abuse of animals. I haven't been able to find this short story. I don't recall if I heard it as part of a podcast or read it online. I came ...
4
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1answer
111 views

What does “perverse madonna” mean?

What is a "perverse madonna"? In the short story "The Boarding House" by James Joyce, Polly is compared to a "perverse madonna". Polly was a slim girl of nineteen; she ...
4
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1answer
103 views

Identification of a Maupassant short story where a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress

In a short story by Maupassant, a young man is upset by the past infidelities of his mistress, a rather paradoxical situation since he came much later after the infidelities (and somehow benefited ...
2
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1answer
98 views

Which Maupassant short stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870?

I read somewhere that Maupassant wrote ten short stories on the 1870 war between France and Prussia. I know "Boule de suif", "Deux amis", "Un duel", "Madame Sauvage&...
2
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1answer
42 views

Why is the gesture of the rebel noble in “The Man with the Scar”?

In the William Somerset Maugham short story "The Man with the Scar", the general considers the gesture of the rebel as a noble gesture. I don't understand why. He killed his love, the girl ...
5
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1answer
87 views

A man is in court because a company wants his prostheses back

I forgot the title of the short story. It is about a man who is in court because of his prostheses. If I remember correctly he was a famous motorbiker. A company wants all his prostheses back, because ...
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2answers
70 views

In The Blue Cross, what is the mailbag trick?

From the Father Brown story "The Blue Cross": It was he who had kept up an unaccountable and close correspondence with a young lady whose whole letter-bag was intercepted, by the ...
5
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1answer
328 views

What are nuts and super-nuts in Saki's “Beasts and Super-Beasts”?

In Saki's Beasts and Super-Beasts he refers to "Nuts" and "Super-Nuts". For example, we have “You are not going to be what they call a Nut, are you?” she inquired with some ...
3
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1answer
138 views

What do the yellow banners in Edgar Allan Poe's “The Haunted Palace” symbolize?

The story "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe contains a poem, "The Haunted Palace", which starts like this: In the greenest of our valleys,     By good angels ...
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0answers
45 views

In “The Third Level”, does the third level really exist or is it a mere hallucination?

In the short story "The Third Level" by Jack Finney, does the third level in the Grand Central Station really exist or, is it just in Charley's imagination? Does Sam Wiener really go to 1894,...
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0answers
44 views

Short story, 19th century: French country priest and devil exchange subjectivities

I am looking for a 19th century short story. I thought it was written by Guy de Maupassant, but didn't find it. A French country priest starts having vivid dreams that he is a diabolical courtier in ...
10
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1answer
140 views

Sci-fi short story about not getting into cars with strangers

I read this story in English in the 2000s (although it was probably much older), in a collection or anthology of several short stories by different authors; I think the collections may have been ...
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2answers
945 views

What literary device is used in from “one thing to another”?

The extract is Then, from one thing to another, M. Hamel went on to talk of the French language, saying that it was the most beautiful language in the world — the clearest, the most logical; that we ...
2
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1answer
65 views

In the short story “The Last Lesson” by Alphonse Daudet, what do the following signify?

"The Last Lesson" is a short story by Alphonse Daudet (link to the English translation). What is the significance/symbolism/meaning of the following aspects of the story? The watcher's ...
5
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1answer
49 views

What's the significance of leap years in Poe's “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade”?

Edgar Allan Poe's story “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade” (link to full text) has this curious sentence. This is about Scheherazade volunteering to marry the king, despite knowing that ...
3
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1answer
236 views

What is the “dark star” in Fritz Leiber's “The Pail of Air”?

Fritz Leiber's short story "A Pail of Air" (available to read online at Project Gutenberg) is set in a post-apocalyptic world, with a family who believe they are the only survivors after the ...
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1answer
23 views

Meaning of “seldom anything but”

These old folks, you must know, were quite poor, and had to work pretty hard for a living. Old Philemon toiled diligently in his garden, while Baucis was always busy with her distaff, or making a ...
1
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1answer
70 views

What is the meaning of “broads” in Hemingway's short story Fifty Grand?

What is the meaning of "broads" in Hemingway's short story Fifty Grand? Here's the context: The three of us, Jack Brennan, Soldier Bartlett, and I were in Hanley’s. There were a couple of ...
4
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1answer
70 views

Robot Beings who are hunted for fuel who say “Toot Toot” to each other

I remember a short story but can't remember the name of the story or author. It is about alien/robotic beings that have been hunted to the edge of extinction because they are an exceptional fuel ...
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1answer
18 views

What does “who allows his honesty the benefit of the doubt” mean?

I was reading A.G. Gardiner’s On Umbrella Morals and in the second paragraph occurs these lines In fact he is a thoroughly honest man who allows his honesty the benefit of the doubt. I want an ...
0
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1answer
60 views

Understanding the last lines from Oscar Wilde’s The Model Millionaire

The Model Millionaire is a short story about a young man, named Hughie Erskin, who although does not have much money himself, is moved to pity by the sight of an elderly beggar who is posing as model ...
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0answers
51 views

In “Should Wizard Hit Mommy?” is Claire white? [duplicate]

In John Updike's short story "Should Wizard Hit Mommy?", is Jack's wife Claire a white woman? Are there any clues in the lesson that suggest that?
2
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1answer
86 views

A fable in which pigs with human heads are born because the swineherds had no women with them

I am trying to find a fable I read a long time ago (some 40 years ago, maybe), probably in a collection of short stories / fables, probably in Spanish. From what I have been searching so far, it seems ...
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0answers
29 views

Short story - Man transports a dead dog to a field, but gets accused of murder with the blood in his van considered to be evidence

I think I read this in an anthology, probably in the 1980s or 1990s, possibly one of the Alfred Hitchcock anthologies. At the beginning, a man is transporting a dead dog to a field to bury it. I'm not ...
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0answers
55 views

Manga one-shot, guy helps bullied girl and competition with penalty for not speak well

I am looking for a one shot about a girl (I think wearing glasses) who can't speak loudly, and whose English is bad. Even her teacher has a hard time with her. A guy who sees her get bullied helps ...
2
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1answer
96 views

Is either Rhoda Brook or Gertrude Lodge portrayed negatively in “The Withered Arm”?

Thomas Hardy's short story "The Withered Arm" (freely available to read online) revolves largely around two female characters, Rhoda Brook and Gertrude Lodge, the two "viewpoint" ...
6
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1answer
575 views

Why is the country conjuror referred to as a “white wizard”?

In Thomas Hardy's short story "The Withered Arm" (freely available to read online), Gertrude Lodge and Rhona Brook go together to see a man named Trendle, often called Conjuror Trendle, who ...
3
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1answer
100 views

“What the Turk do it matter to us”?

In the opening chapter of Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm", the following passage is found (emphasis mine): The discussion waxed so warm that the purr of the milk streams became jerky, ...
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1answer
50 views

Spy story involving a strong magnet, a ludicrously precise X-Ray machine, and a code book

I read this somewhere in the early 90s, from a paperback book, in English. I would have sworn that this was one of the stories in Alfred Hitchcock's Sinister Spies collection, as I remember it being ...
3
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0answers
44 views

What is the underlying message of the first story of 听你的 (“Up To You”)?

I read an (untitled) short story: the first chapter of 《听你的》 (full text is here), and I don't feel I fully understand the plot. Here's my summarization: The main character "you" (unnamed) ...
2
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0answers
34 views

Short story in orient-style city, man abusing the children who teaches him to play an instrument, covered by his wife

I am looking for what I think is a short story that I read approximately 8-10 years ago. I read it in French, but I think it was a translation. I vaguely remember that the story is set in a oriental-...
9
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1answer
798 views

Identification of a short story about a short irrefutable self-evident proof that God exists that is kept secret

I am trying to find a short story (about 20 - 30 pages long) I read a couple of years ago. Here is what I recall: The central idea is that a [catholic] priest creates (and writes) a very short (about ...
2
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0answers
63 views

What short story has a soldier deliver a secret message like “shoot the messenger”?

I recall a story, written in English, about a British or American WW1 or WW2 soldier who has to cross enemy lines to deliver a message which he was not to read. In the rain and mud, fearing the ink ...
2
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2answers
257 views

Roald Dahl short story - wife kills drunkard husband by spiking his drink

I am trying to remember the name of a short story by Roald Dahl, about a man who systematically got drunk at home every Saturday night. His wife kills him, I think by putting something in his drink. ...
2
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0answers
56 views

Short story - man obsessed with news, then lives solitary life, then goes on killing rampage

I remember reading a short story about a married couple where a man was always obsessed with the news (I think it was on the radio) until his wife was so exasperated with him she nagged him and drove ...
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0answers
61 views

Trying to find a creepy children’s book I read in elementary school

When I was in elementary school (from 2013-2018), I read a picture book I saw on the classroom shelves. It was a short picture book where a black cat would walk through an abandoned castle/manor of ...

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