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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6
votes
1answer
528 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
votes
1answer
57 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, ...
1
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0answers
29 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 ...
4
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0answers
20 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
32 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
votes
1answer
763 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 ...
3
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0answers
57 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
110 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.
0
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0answers
53 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 ...
0
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0answers
33 views

Man is in jail for murder, gets killed by victims family

Ok I think this was a short story I read, but it may have been a novel or even a tv show or movie. There is a man in jail for murder and a lady is there asking him to write in a journal or something ...
4
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0answers
145 views

Story/article about the 1969 moon landing's meaning to a black man

Can you help me identify the short story or article? It was set in Florida in the summer of 1969 The writer asks a black man, working at his hotel, what he thinks of the excitement over the moon ...
0
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1answer
54 views

What does “burned the station brand into our walking sticks” mean?

This is an excerpt (no origin given) from an ACT test: Every thousand feet, we came to a small station constructed of tin and cement, barely able to block the wind. At each one, we noted the roof ...
4
votes
1answer
62 views

What does “hearing a story was the last stroke of the hoe” mean?

A quote from "Fitting the Ground to Plant" by Joseph Bruchac, collected in Rooted in Rock: New Adirondack Writing, 1975-2000, edited by Jim Gould: Thirty years after that day when my ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Meaning and historical reference in “Ind Aff”

In Fay Weldon's short story "Ind Aff or Out of Love in Sarajevo" I found the following passage: “The Hungro-Austrarian Empire,” said Peter to me, “didn't so much collapse as fail to exist ...
2
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1answer
38 views

When did Tagore write “The Victory”?

The anthology The Definitive Tagore (Rupa Publishing, 2017) contains several works, including five short stories. The book does not contain any information on the author, nor dates of publication or ...
2
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1answer
45 views

Meaning of a sentence in “Ind Aff or Out of Love in Sarajevo”

In Fay Weldon's short story "Ind Aff or Out of Love in Sarajevo" I found the following passage: We went to a restaurant for lunch, since it was too wet to do what we loved to do: that is, ...
3
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0answers
28 views

Does the Order of Melchizedek's professed goal to bring the Vatican Council to the masses refer to a historical reality?

In Nick Joaquin's story or novella "The Order of Melchizedek", Guia, the main character's younger sister, has become a member of a religious organisation that is referred to as the Order of ...
3
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0answers
17 views

What is the literary effect of such long opening and closing sentences in “May Day Eve”?

Nick Joaquin's short story "May Day Eve" begins and ends with two extremely long sentences: The old people had ordered that the dancing should stop at ten o’clock but it was almost midnight ...
3
votes
1answer
44 views

What does cuatro cantos refer to?

In Nick Joaquin's story "Cándido's Apocalypse", Pete Henson tells Bobby, the story's main character, that "Joey Perez and some fellows went joyriding and dog-hunting and they caught a ...
3
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1answer
42 views

What does ‘Kung mapatay di madeadball ’ mean?

In Nick Joaquin's story "Cándido's Apocalypse", the 17-year-old Bobby starts behaving rather strangely. After going "stowaway" and being brought back home, he wakes up the next ...
1
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0answers
30 views

What does 'por bida man guid' mean?

In Nick Joaquin's story "The Order of Melchizedek", Sid and Mrs. Borja are trying to retrieve a card that Sid had pushed down an edge of the upholstery in a taxi. The girl who has washed the ...
2
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1answer
47 views

Who are/were the man and woman in Nick Joaquin's “May Day Eve”?

Nick Joaquin's short story May Day Eve skips back and forth between different eras of time. There is the night after a party when a young woman and young man look in a mirror and meet each other; then,...
9
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1answer
1k views

Searching for a sci-fi short story: three robots sent as ambassadors to prevent an interplanetary war

I remember reading a short story about three robots sent as ambassadors to (I think) Mars. It was an attempt by Earth to prevent a Martian invasion or war. The robots arrived in a spaceship designed ...
4
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0answers
48 views

What do Connie's two navels represent?

Nick Joaquin's story "The Woman Who Had Two Navels" opens with the following words: When she told him she had two navels he believed her at once: (...) "She" is Connie de Vidal, ...
3
votes
1answer
56 views

What is “the Segregation of the Queen” in “His Last Bow”?

I’d like to ask about a sentence in "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen. I’d like to make sure ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

What is Watson's “old service” in “His Last Bow”?

I’d like to ask about a sentence in "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. As to you, Watson, you are joining us with your old service, as I understand, so London won’t be out of your way. ...
0
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1answer
42 views

Implication of “your four-in-hand takes the prize” in “His Last Bow”

I’d like to ask about a sentence in "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. You yacht against them, you hunt with them, you play polo, you match them in every game, your four-in-hand takes ...
1
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2answers
26 views

What does “half-primitive vigor” mean?

In the short story The Planet of the Dead by Clark Ashton Smith, I would like to understand the meaning of "half-primitive vigor": He had lived as an intellectual sybarite; and by virtue of ...
6
votes
2answers
182 views

Why does the narrator in Tagore's story call the Cabuliwallah's daughter “Parbati”?

In Rabindranath Tagore's "The Cabuliwallah", Rahmun, the eponymous Cabuliwallah, has come to Calcutta to make a living selling nuts and dried fruits from his native Afghanistan. In lieu of a ...
1
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0answers
19 views

Why does the narrator specify which psalms are being said at the meal in Agnon's “The Kerchief”?

In section 9 of S. Y. Agnon's short story "The Kerchief", the narrator / protagonist gives us the scene at the Shabbat lunch meal: When I came back with Father from the small prayer room ...
2
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0answers
14 views

What is the symbolism of the sun in this Bengali short story “The House of Wax”?

"The House of Wax" is a short story by Subodh Ghosh, translated from Bengali to English by Somrita Ganguly. It's about a man and woman who meet at a train station years after getting ...
0
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1answer
77 views

Point of view in Eudora Welty's “A Worn Path”

In "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty, how can the story's point of view be described? How does the point of view affect what we know about the situation?
2
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0answers
56 views

WWII (?) comic about a spy doing propaganda for the bad guys

The story, so far... When I was a kid, I read a story about a guy, who was sent to a country as a spy. He ended up working with doing propaganda for said countrys government, but is secretly sending ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

What does “walk for a wager” mean in “A Fisher of Men”?

In "A Fisher of Men" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Dr. Jervis was digging the earth with his friend, while they saw a stranger man coming along the path, then that man ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

What does “unlikely neighbourhood” mean in “A Fisher of Men”?

In "A Fisher of Men" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke was talking about a man who went to visit another one who wants to buy his expensive necklace, saying: &...
1
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0answers
12 views

What's the meaning of the dream in Agnon's “The Kerchief”?

In S. Y. Agnon's short story "The Kerchief", there's an entire section (section 4) dedicated to a dream that the protagonist would have when his father was selling things in Lashkowitz: And ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Narration and internal dialogue in Mansfield's The Little Governess

I'm a newbie in literary reading and I'm confused about narration. I have read Katherine Mansfield's short story The Little Governess, which is written in third person narration. But I am confused ...
3
votes
1answer
692 views

Who are the main characters of “A Study in Emerald”?

Neil Gaiman calls his "A Study in Emerald"* a Lovecraft/Sherlock Holmes fanfiction. And indeed it is exactly that: it uses the narration and story structure pretty characteristic to one from ...
7
votes
1answer
91 views

Identify a story about the kid who waves at the train

I learned of a story in my high school time(sometime during year 2000-2002) as part of the English textbox. The story is about two men having a conversation in a train, one is a disabled man who lost ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

What are “half-tips to the heels” in “The Touchstone”?

In "The Touchstone" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke and his friend, Gervis, found a print of a boot with an iron toe-tip on loam soil, then they found another ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Does “trampling” mean “violence” or “attack” in “The Touchstone”?

In "The Touchstone" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke went to an old disused chalk-pit, where a dead man found after he fall from above path, the edges of which ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Is there any connection between the reticence of Lady Anne and the cat-bird subplot?

While answering another question, I read Saki's short story The Reticence of Lady Anne" from his Reginald in Russia collection. Inasmuch as a story this short can be said to have "plotlines&...
3
votes
0answers
101 views

Short story: an executioner, uncaring to convicts, discovers a watch that he gifted to his son

I remember reading this English (could be a translation) short story ~20 years ago in my school. There was an executioner who executed convicts on an electric chair. He never cared about (or looked ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

Why is the Lady “a suffering soul in some page of Dostoyevsky”?

In An Enigmatic Nature, Anton Chekhov writes: "I am a suffering soul in some page of Dostoevsky. Reveal my soul to the world, Voldemar." and "Happiness comes tapping at my window, I ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

Why does Groholsky head toward the water barrel?

In A Living Chattel, Anton Chekhov writes: [Impersonal Witness] I pressed Groholsky's hand, and got into the train. He bowed towards the carriage, and went to the water-barrel—I suppose he was ...
4
votes
1answer
81 views

What is the significance of a raised black flag?

In The Lost Sanjak, Saki Writes: and, in the midst of a string of questions on indifferent topics, the examining counsel asked me with a diabolical suddenness if I could tell the Court the ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

What is the hidden meaning of “Bad News” known to Egbert and Lady Anne?

In The Reticence of Lady Anne, Saki writes: Both Egbert and Lady Anne would have preferred something from The Yeomen of the Guard, which was their favourite opera. In matters artistic they had a ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

What is the Ruff of Don Tarquinio?

In The Reticence of Lady Anne, Saki writes: Don Tarquinio lay astretch on the Persian rug, basking in the firelight with superb indifference to the possible ill-humour of Lady Anne. His pedigree was ...
2
votes
1answer
30 views

What is the influence of Louis Quinze and Wilhelm II on furniture styling?

In Reginald in Russia, Saki writes: Reginald sat in a corner of the Princess’s salon and tried to forgive the furniture, which started out with an obvious intention of being Louis Quinze, but ...
2
votes
0answers
62 views

Why do Albanians “take life whenever they get the opportunity”?

In Reginald on Tariffs, Saki writes: There are only two classes that really can’t help taking life seriously—schoolgirls of thirteen and Hohenzollerns; they might be exempt. Albanians come under ...

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