Lunchtime read: Selected Stories

Another mixture of stories with some hidden depths. The favourite of the day has to be The Beggar with its ending that comes out of nowhere but it makes you think long and hard about the idea of good deeds and just who is benefiting by them – the person giving or the person receiving?

Agatha
A lazy man in the village is the target of infatuation by women keen to help him and become lovers. Fishing by the river one night with the narrator Agatha, who is married to a railywayman comes and misses he husband’s return train and stays the night. The narrator falls asleep in a tree and is woken to watch her with his adulterous companion as she crosses the ford back into the village to face her husband. Those without ties of love and family find it easy to break those for the people that do.

The Beggar
A man takes pity on a beggar and tells him that if he is prepared to work then he will give him a chance. After cutting wood for months the man is given the chance to get an office job, which he seizes. Months pass and he is spotted at the theatre but he says to his saviour that the cook is the real hero because she cut all the wood but it was watching her that made him reform his ways. A powerful little twist that makes you think about charity and what the motivation really is behind giving it.

Children

A mixture of children of different ages and different backgrounds are playing a bingo type game for money and during the race to win the money they fight, make up and then finally run out of steam and fall asleep. In a way it acts as a mirror for adult behaviour, which often ends up in fights and wars rather than smiles and snores.

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