Saturday, March 12, 2011

Classic Story: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o'clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 2th. but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play. and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands. Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix-- the villagers pronounced this name "Dellacroy"--eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys. The girls stood aside, talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys. and the very small children rolled in the dust or clung to the hands of their older brothers or sisters.

Classic Story: The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan 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. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my in to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my to smile now was at the thought of his immolation.

He had a weak point --this Fortunato --although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity, to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian millionaires. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack, but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially; --I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Short Story: Always Has An Answer

Two men go to their rabbi to settle a fight. The first man tells his side, and the rabbi nods, "You're right."

The other one makes his rebuttal, and the rabbi nods again, "You're right."

The first fellow says in frustration, "Rabbi, we can't be both be right!"

The rabbi's eyes light up in appreciation, and he beams, "You know, you're right too."

- Val Palmer

Short Story: Making People Pray

A bus driver and a priest died at the same time. Although the driver was sent directly to heaven, the priest's case was apparently harder to decide.

"I don't mind that you sent a bus driver to heaven," the priest was heard complaining. "But after all, I was a priest. So why should I be kept waiting?"

He was answered like this from on high, "Father, when you were preaching, everyone was falling asleep. But when the bus driver was driving, everyone was praying."

- Saturday Evening Post

Short Story: Prejudice

A fellow says he hear the following dialog at the Legislature: "He's a traitor. He deserted us on that vote and went over to the opposition."

"Tell me, would someone who left the other side and came over to you, be a traitor too?"

"Of course not - he'd be a convert."

- Charlestown Gazette

Short Story: Viewpoint

It is natural that our habits that seem bad to others seem good to us. A woman who was a chainsmoker of cigarettes blew the smoke into the face of a man sitting with her on a sightseeing bus. He was a tobacco-chewer, and spat out the window. She blurted out, "Chewing tobacco is a filthy habit."

He replied mildly, "Well, ma'am, it ain't never started any forest fires."

- Nashua Cavalier

Short Story: Family Blessings

The new neighbor struck up a conversation with a 7-year old boy living next door. "How many kids in your family?" he asked.

"Eight," the child said.

"My, that many children must cost a lot of money," said the negighbor.

"Oh, we don't buy them. We raise them," replied the boy.

Short Story: Down to Basics

It was a long sermon on free salvation, and when the preacher finished, he asked the deacon to pass the collection plate.

"Just a minute, Reverend," a voice protested. "You said salvation is free... free as the water we drink."

The preacher thought a minute and replied, "It sure is... salvation is free and so is the water free... but somebody has to pay for the plumbing."

- Arthur Tonne

Abraham Lincoln: Man of Meekness

There is one man in history for whom appearance did not matter. It was the least of his assets. Abraham Lincoln knew he was not a handsome man. When told that someone had called him "two-faced," he said, "If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one?" How's that for a reply.

Lincoln never let his appearance bother him. But other people, friends and foes alike, used it to insult and attack him. When they were both practicing law, Edwin Stanton would often call him "gorilla" in public debates. No man was insulted for his looks more than Abraham Lincoln.

But the great American president found this understandable and never let such criticism alter his feelings about other people. As a lawyer, he learned to respect Edwin Stanton's mind. In fact, when he became president, Lincoln asked Stanton to join his cabinet as Secretary of War.

People close to Lincoln objected to his choice. They could never forgive Stanton for ridiculing this humble man. When pressed for an explanation as to why, of all people eligible for the post, he chose the man who so bitterly and cruelly insulted him, Lincoln replied, "I chose Stanton simply because he is the best man for the job."

This is one of the many reasons why Abraham Lincoln turned out to be one of the greatest presidents, if not the greatest president, of the United States of America. He recognized person's worth no matter how that person may have hurt him. This is what you call "meekness."