Just as the introduction leads you to expect these are stories that set things up and allow the reader to make a judgement. Are the characters good or bad? Or even clever or stupid? That’s for the reader to decide.
A man travelling with a peasant to a remote district is so worried about being attacked he makes up a story not just about having three guns but also being followed by policemen. The peasant driver is so frightened he runs off into the woods and the passenger has to shout out for hours until he returns and they continue on their journey
The Night Before Easter
A man visiting a monastery is taken over on a ferry by Jerome a layman who has just experienced the loss of his best friend who was one of the few monks who could read and write but he is kept away from the Easter celebrations because no one relives him on the boat and on the return journey he stares at a woman’s face reminding him of the friend he has lost
A lawyer comes home to find his seven-year-old son has been in his study and smoked some of his tobacco. Attempts to reason with him fail until he tells a fairy story where the main character is a boy who smokes and dies from consumption and as a result the boy swears never to do it again and the lawyer learns about talking to a child in their own language
A man and his wife have saved up their champagne until new year’s eve but as he goes to open the bottle it drops and the wife says to drink from it will be bad luck. But the husband questions what could happen but then a relative arrives who breaks up his marriage and leads to him losing his home – the bad luck he never saw coming