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Short Fiction

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Short fiction published on the EServer.
Short Fiction The Adventures of Aladdin
The Brothers Grimm
One day, as he was looking for wild figs in a grove some way from the town, Aladdin met a mysterious stranger. This smartly dressed dark-eyed man with a trim black beard and a splendid sapphire in his turban, asked Aladdin an unusual question: "Come here, boy," he ordered. "How would you like to earn a silver penny?"
Short Fiction The Adventures of the Soul
Anatole France
As I understand criticism it is, like philosophy and history, a kind of novel for the use of discreet and curious minds. And every novel, rightly understood, is an autobiography. The good critic is he who relates the adventures of his soul among masterpieces.
Short Fiction Aesop's Fables
The original moral short fiction, which set the standard for those to follow.
Short Fiction Agrippa (A Book of the Dead)
William Gibson
I hesitated before untying the bow that bound this book together.
Short Fiction The Ambitious Guest
Nathaniel Hawthorne
There were circumstances which led some to suppose that a stranger had been received into the cottage on this awful night, and had shared the catastrophe of all its inmates.
Short Fiction And Then the Prince Knelt Down and Tried to Put the Glass Slipper on Cinderella's Foot
Judith Viorst
How the Cinderella Story probably actually happened.
Short Fiction Araby
James Joyce
Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration.
Short Fiction Beware of the Dog
Roald Dahl
Everything is fine, he thought. I'm doing all right. I'm doing nicely. I know my way home. I'll be there in half an hour. When I land I shall taxi in and switch off my engine and I shall say, help me to get out, will you. I shall make my voice sound ordinary and natural and none of them will take any notice. Then I shall say, someone help me to get out. I can't do it alone because I've lost one of my legs.
Short Fiction The Billionaire
Maxim Gorkiy
The kings of steel, of petroleum, and all the other kings of the United States have always in a high degree excited my power of imagination. It seemed to me certain that these people who possess so much money could not be like other mortals.
Short Fiction The Birthday of the Infanta
Oscar Wilde
It was the birthday of the Infanta. She was just twelve years of age, and the sun was shining brightly in the gardens of the palace.
Short Fiction The Black Cat
Edgar Allen Poe
For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not -- and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul.
Short Fiction Bobok
Fyodor Dostoevsky
A strange requirement. I did not resent it, I am a timid man; but here they have actually made me out mad. An artist painted my portrait as it happened: "After all, you are a literary man," he said. I submitted, he exhibited it. I read: "Go and look at that morbid face suggesting insanity."
Short Fiction The Cask of Amontillado
Edgar Allen Poe
The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely, settled--but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but punish with impunity.
Short Fiction Coyote Kills a Giant
A Navajo tale from the long collection of tales about Coyote.
Short Fiction The Disputes of the Flute-Players
Anatole France
In aesthetics, that is to say in the clouds, one can argue more and better than in any other subject. It is there that one must be cautious.
Short Fiction Daughter for Sale
Samruam Singh, translated by Katherine A. Bowie.
But what was he to have done? No matter what, he would have to let his daughter go with Yai Phloy. So what point would there have been in disagreeing with her, in forcing her to speak the truth? Wouldn't he only be degrading himself by admitting openly for everyone to hear that he was so destitute that he had to sell his daughter.
Short Fiction The Devoted Friend
Oscar Wilde
One morning the old Water-rat put his head out of his hole. He had bright beady eyes and stiff grey whiskers, and his tail was like a long bit of black india-rubber. The little ducks were swimming about in the pond, looking just like a lot of yellow canaries, and their mother, who was pure white with real red legs, was trying to teach them how to stand on their heads in the water.
Short Fiction The Door
E.B. White
Everything (he kept saying) is something it isn't. And everybody is always somewhere else.
Short Fiction The Dream of a Ridiculous Man
Fyodor Dostoevsky
I am a ridiculous person. Now they call me a madman. That would be a promotion if it were not that I remain as ridiculous in their eyes as before.
Short Fiction Eva Is Inside Her Cat
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
All of a sudden she noticed that her beauty had fallen all apart on her, that it had begun to pain her physically like a tumor or a cancer. She still remembered the weight of the privilege she had borne over her body during adolescence, which she had dropped now--who knows where?--with the weariness of resignation, with the final gesture of a declining creature.
Short Fiction Evil Engineering: The Education vs. The Students
Peter W. De Bonte
"Wow," I exclaimed, "I'm so inspired! I just spent 4 hours with my English teacher and I finally understand!"
Short Fiction The Exit Meeting
Doctress Neutopia
It was strange when people began congratulating me on finishing up my dissertation. What were they congratulating me for? Was it for having enough money to make it through the system after a decade of struggle with the financial aid bureaucracy? Were they proud that I had conformed my behavior enough to sit through hours of boring and meaningless lectures? Or, were they congratulating me because now I was an official doctress and now I had the credentials to pursue an upper-middle class professorship which will enable me to then buy into the American dream?
Short Fiction Eyes of a Blue Dog
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Then she looked at me. I thought that she was looking at me for the first time. But then, when she turned around behind the lamp and I kept feeling her slippery and oily look in back of me, over my shoulder, I understood that it was I who was looking at her for the first time.
Short Fiction A Few Words
Telisha Moore
"Well, here it is, man," Flapjack said as he thumped the black gun on the scarred coffee table. It was a .38 snubnose-loaded and well-worn. Wallace slowly moved the gun off the letter he was writing, folded the crisp page, and put it in his pocket.
Short Fiction The Fisherman and His Soul
Oscar Wilde
A fisherman learns about the true nature of his relationship with the sea.
Short Fiction A Ghost Story
Short Fiction The Happy Prince
Oscar Wilde
High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.
Short Fiction Groundhog
Forrest Pritchard
It happened that Chuck had a garden next to his woodpile so he could throw the chips and mulch without much work. But what he didn't know was that a groundhog had come by near the end of summer to settle himself under the woodpile for his winter nap.
Short Fiction The Guarded Secrets
Anatole France
M. Ferdinand Brunetière, of whom I am very fond, has a great quarrel with me. He reproaches me with misunderstanding the very laws of criticism, with having no criterion by which to judge the things of the mind, with floating amid contradictions with no guide but my instincts, with never getting out of myself, with being enclosed within my subjectivity as in a dark prison.
Short Fiction The Hitchhiker Queen
Alan Wise
It was somewhere between two and three o'clock on the second Thursday of July, but no one wanted to stop for the woman who waited patiently by the side of the road.
Short Fiction If You Lived Here, You'd be Home By Now
Joe Bowers
The boy was grey, too. He wore an olive green trenchcoat (an army cast-off like his boots) over funereal black, greasy hair obscuring his eyes. They must have been grey. He was narrow-shouldered and small, and walked like he was in a trance. I suppose he was. It was trance weather.
Short Fiction The Innocence of Father Brown
This first collection of Father Brown mysteries, widely considered the author’s best, includes "The Blue Cross" "The Hammer of God," "The Eye of Apollo" and more. Father Brown is the opposite of Sherlock Holmes—the quiet, nondescript little priest whom nobody notices.
Short Fiction A Little Cloud
James Joyce
Few fellows had talents like his, and fewer still could remain unspoiled by such success. Gallaher's heart was in the right place and he had deserved to win. It was something to have a friend like that.
Short Fiction The Lottery
Shirley Jackson
The classic short story about conformity and tradition in America.
Short Fiction The Lottery Ticket
Anton Chekhov
Ivan Dmitritch, a middle-class man who lived with his family on an income of twelve hundred a year and was very well satisfied with his lot, sat down on the sofa after supper and began reading the newspaper.
Short Fiction Love in the Age of Haniel
Thaisa Frank
She couldn't remember when she began to envy her husband's dreams.
Short Fiction Montebelluna
Anne-Marie Pedersen
He can't explain it. He thinks, 'Even if I knew every word in every language, I still wouldn't be able to put together one phrase that means anything.'
Short Fiction Morning Walk
Brian Brennan
Out early one morning--this itself a surprise, normally I sleep past noon, spending the most difficult part of the day in bed--I pass a woman on the sidewalk. "Please help me," she cries, "I have lost my feet.
Short Fiction The Most Dangerous Game
Richard Connell
"Mirage," thought Rainsford. But it was no mirage, he found, when he opened the tall spiked iron gate. The stone steps were real enough; the massive door with a leering gargoyle for a knocker was real enough; yet above it all hung an air of unreality.
Short Fiction Mrs. T's Story
Krishna Padmasola
I felt bad today.That headache was back. Dr. Wilkins came and spent some time with me. He is very nice with all the inmates,but sometimes I think I can detect some trace of annoyance in him when Martha goes on and on with her list of complaints and does not want to let him go.
Short Fiction Un Mudo en la Garganta
Short Fiction The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Mark Twain
Any way that suited the other man would suit him--any way just so's he got a bet, he was satisfied. But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come out winner.
Short Fiction An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Ambrose Bierce
A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man's hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. A rope closely encircled his neck. It was attached to a stout cross-timber above his head and the slack fell to the level of his knees.
Short Fiction Paddyfields
Samruam Singh
The soft billowing green of planted paddyfields gives most people who look at them a feeling of harmony and renewal.
Short Fiction The Piece of String
Guy de Maupassant
All that smacked of the stable, the dairy and the dirt heap, hay and sweat, giving forth that unpleasant odor, human and animal, peculiar to the people of the field.
Short Fiction The Ransom of Red Chief
O. Henry
It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you. We were down South, in Alabama--Bill Driscoll and myself-when this kidnapping idea struck us. It was, as Bill afterward expressed it, 'during a moment of temporary mental apparition'; but we didn't find that out till later.
Short Fiction A Retrieved Reformation
O. Henry
A guard came to the prison shoe-shop, where Jimmy Valentine was assiduously stitching uppers, and escorted him to the front office. There the warden handed Jimmy his pardon, which had been signed that morning by the governor. Jimmy took it in a tired kind of way.
Short Fiction Rex Stout: Short Stories
Short Fiction Ripple
Denzel J. Hankinson
My former roommate, Trevor Hanscome, played one of the life-sized animated characters that either delight or terrify little kids at amusement parks. Trevor died two weeks ago.
Short Fiction The Sacred Groves
Anatole France
When we read, then, these excellent books, these books of life, we cause them to pass into ourselves. The critic must be thoroughly penetrated by the knowledge that every book exists in as many different forms as it has readers and that a poem, like a landscape, becomes transformed for every eye that sees it, for every soul that apprehends it.
Short Fiction Second-Hand Rows
Lynda Coleman
When I left the twenty-nine-day residential treatment program two years ago, I was asked to abandon thirteen years of accessible stress management, a particular combination of dime draws, FACs (Friday-afternoon clubs), Reba McIntire, pool tables with chewed-up felt and obscene table roll. But it's times like this I wish I was back on a barstool, because at least I know those rules.
Short Fiction Short Fiction of Ovidiu Bufnila
Short Fiction Smoke
Chris Avellone
Short Fiction Short Stories of Charles Chesnutt
Short Fiction Spilt Wine
Makya McBee
The glass slipped out of her hand. For a brief moment she was brought to life. She turned her head and watched the glass fall. How slowly it fell. Inside, her mind was consumed, but outside, she only thought—how slowly it fell. It seemed she could catch it if she only reached out, but somehow she could only watch it fall.
Short Fiction A Telephone Call
Dorothy Parker
PLEASE, God, let him telephone me now. Dear God, let him call me now.
Short Fiction The Star-Child
Oscar Wilde
'The Earth is going to be married, and this is her bridal dress,' whispered the Turtle-doves to each other. Their little pink feet were quite frost-bitten, but they felt that it was their duty to take a romantic view of the situation.
Short Fiction The Street That Got Mislaid
Patrick Waddington
Marc Girondin had worked in the filing section of the city hall's engineering department for so long that the city was laid out in his mind like a map, full of names and places, intersecting streets and streets that led nowhere, blind alleys and winding lanes.
Short Fiction Thunder
Short Fiction The Use of Force
William Carlos Williams, Geoffrey Sauer (editor)
They were new patients to me, all I had was the name, Olson. Please come down as soon as you can, my daughter is very sick.
Short Fiction The Vendetta
Guy de Maupassant
Paolo Saverini's widow lived alone with her son in a poor little house on the ramparts of Bonifacio. The town, built on a spur of the mountains, in places actually overhanging the sea, looks across a channel bristling with reefs, to the lower shores of Sardinia.
Short Fiction Walter
Brian Brennan
Walter wakes up curled around a shopping cart. Everything is in it: a panel of the "Yellow Kid" comic strip wrapped in plastic; a pane of glass from the Crystal Palace; campaign pins from Eisenhower's second run; cans of paint; everything else. Trade one of the campaign pins for a cup of coffee then get down to business: the line of white paint that started--when the paint was fresh--in Germantown or Center City, he doesn't remember which.
Short Fiction The Young King
Oscar Wilde
It was the night before the day fixed for his coronation, and the young King was sitting alone in his beautiful chamber.

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