The Raising of Lazarus (From the New Testament, John XI)
Though this story is part of the larger narrative of the Gospel of St. John, it is a perfect example of the short story. The details that lead up to the dramatic climax are at first sight not entirely relevant. It is only after the story has been read in its entirety that we perceive the consummate art of the preparatory sentences. Balzac was, many centuries later, to apply this method to the writing of his novels.
The text is taken from the King James version. There is no title to the story in the original.
The Raising of Lazarus
Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore, his sister sent unto him saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not
Pliny The Younger (62—II3 A.D.)
The Letters of Pliny the Younger (known in Latin as C. Plinius Caecilius Secundus) give a pleasant and varied picture of Roman life at a time when the satirists were depicting it in lurid hues. Pliny was a gentleman of refinement who found time, in spite of his career as a lawyer and a high government official, to write many letters to his friends, with a view, as we happen to know, to publication. Several of these letters are neither more nor less than short stories. The Haunted House is simply the recital of an incident in a letter to his friend Sura, and is one of the best of the ancient ghost stories. Needless to say, it is a type that has been used time and again.
The text is from an early English translation, and comprises Letter 27 of the Seventh Book. There is no title in the original.
The Haunted House
There was at Athens a mansion, spacious and commodious, but of evil repute and dangerous to heal
The Book of Ruth (From the Old Testament)
Into the extremely complicated questions of authorship, origin and development of the Old Testament it is not necessary to enter. Ruth is one of the most beautifully conceived and finely written narratives of all Biblical literature. Although it has its place in the ethical scheme of the Old Testament, it seems to have been written with an artistic zest and freedom from constraint that are rare in the religious literature of any race.
The text used here is that printed in Volume IV of Ancient Hebrew Literature, in Everyman’s Library, published in 1907 by J. M. Dent and Sons, by whose permission it is here included. (The last sentence has been omitted, as it has nothing to do with the story.)
The Book of Ruth
Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem- judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, an
Jesop (6th Century, B.C.?)
Jesop was “not a poet,” says Gilbert Murray, “but the legendary author of a particular type of story.” This type is known as the Beast Fable, a brief incident related in order to point a simple moral. According to tradition Jesop was a foreign slave of the Sixth Century B.C. Whether the fables of ancient India, such as those in the Hitopadesa, influenced the ancient Greeks and Romans is a question still debated by scholars. At any rate there is a striking similarity, both in treatment and subject-matter, between the Fables of Jesop, Phaedrus and Avianus, and those which delighted the Indians.
The present translation was made by James and published first in 1848.
The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse
Once upon a time a Country Mouse who had a friend in town invited him, for old acquaintance’ sake, to pay him a visit in the country. The invitation being accepted in due form, the Country Mouse, though plain