A few years back I took a look at six short horror stories by legendary French author Guy de Maupassant (1850 – 1892). That post is available by clicking this link: . Since it’s been awhile, I decided it was high time to return to more works by him.

The Stories:

1. “The Hand” or “The Englishman” (1875) – A town’s new arrival obsessively keeps loaded pistols at the ready around his house, along with a withered, severed hand which he has hanging pierced to a wall. He says this hand belonged to his most hated enemy and claims it often attempts to escape its captivity. You can listen to a free reading of this story here:

2. “Apparition” or “A Ghost” (1883) – A solider goes to the abandoned chateau of a friend whose wife has died in order to retrieve some letters from her room at his friend’s request. When he arrives he finds the place in disrepair, and once inside the room, he discovers the ghost of the dead woman. She asks him to comb her hair. There is much left unexplained at this story’s end, which I actually rather liked as it leaves open many possible reasons for the strange actions of this hair-obsessed specter.

3. “Vendetta” (1883) – When her son is murdered, an elderly mother swears vengeance on the man who did it. As she is physically unable to exact this revenge herself and has no one to assist her, she comes up with a plan which proves as savage as it is effective.

4. “He?” (1903) – A recently engaged man sees the mysterious figure of a stranger sitting in a chair in his house upon arriving home, but as he moves in closer, he discovers the man isn’t actually there at all. He tells himself it was just a momentary hallucination, but anxiety over the figure’s presence continues to build toward a debilitating fixation. You can listen to a free reading of this story on the Great Library of Dreams podcast here:

5. “Diary of a Madman” (1903) – The diary of a popular magistrate is discovered following his death. It chronicles a murderous life which he had secretly led.

6. “The Mother of Monsters” (1903) – While sightseeing in a small village in France, a man is shown a wealthy woman who people call ‘The Mother of Monsters’ because she has given birth to eleven hideously deformed children. She has sold these children to sideshow carnivals for large sums of money. The sightseer later learns the cause of these bizarre anomalies.

Article by Matt Cowan


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