- The Eyes Have It by Philip K. Dick
A poke at idioms, sci-fi style. If we read everything literally, we'd go mad. You'll be "in stitches" by the time you're done reading Dick's "side-splitting" story!
- Wit Inspirations of the "Two-Year-Olds" by Mark Twain
"'Samuel is a very excellent name.' I saw that trouble was coming. Nothing could prevent it."
- Maine to the Rescue by Laura E. Richards
A late winter blizzard is just the occasion for Maine (the girl) to step out and save the day!
- The Disciple by Oscar Wilde
The familiar story of Narcissus, but from the pool's point of view.
- The Fable of the Preacher Who Flew His Kite, But Not Because He Wished to Do So by George Ade
"Give the People what they Think they want" is the clear moral imperative in this story.
- A Strange Story by O. Henry
As the title implies, O. Henry delivers an unexpected story about a delayed errand in search of cough medicine that requires patients-- two, in fact.
- A Lost Masterpiece by A.A. Milne
Winnie the Pooh author offers a witty piece on how to handle "Teralbay" -- all 181,440 ways.
- Clovis on Parental Responsibilities by H.H. Munro (SAKI)
SAKI's precursor to what we now call "helicopter parenting."
- My Financial Career by Stephen Leacock
Here's an account of how a man really lost his balance.
- The New Food by Stephen Leacock
What? All the nutrients you need in one little pill? Leacock's story provides just one scenario for why this invention failed miserably.
- Aristocracy Versus Hash by O. Henry
Who cares about your family tree. Nothing beats an irish stew, cornbread, and a beer!
- Borrowing a Match by Stephen Leacock
A simple request from a stranger is no "match" for what happens next.
- Lord Oakhurst's Curse by O. Henry
This story would make a steam piano go out behind a barn and kick itself in despair.
- A Telephonic Conversation by Mark Twain
Twain's humorous rant contrasting how women talk on the telephone compared to men.
- The Prisoner of Zembla by O. Henry
Isn't this a story about two knights fighting for the hand of a fair maiden?
- Reginald on Worries by H.H. Munro (SAKI)
"They remind one so of a duck that goes flapping about with forced cheerfulness long after its head's been cut off."
- Reginald's Peace Poem by H.H. Munro (SAKI)
"In writing about Peace the thing is to say what everybody else is saying, only to say it better."
- About Barbers by Mark Twain
Why don't men just go to a salon where they can make an appointment, instead of this nonsense?
- The Dog by Banjo Paterson
"A dog always looks as if he ought to have a pipe in his mouth and a black bag for his lunch, and then he would go quite happily to office every day."
- The Patient Cat by Laura E. Richards
“Well, of all the horrid, mean, ungrateful creatures I ever saw, those birds are the horridest, and the meanest, and the most ungrateful!"
- A Monument to Adam by Mark Twain
"We had monkeys, and 'missing links,' and plenty of other kinds of ancestors, but no Adam."
- The Whistle by Benjamin Franklin
"When I see a beautiful sweet-tempered girl married to an ill-natured brute of a husband, What a pity, say I, that she should pay so much for a whistle!"
- A Country Cottage by Anton Chekhov
Looking forward to a nice quiet evening together, when suddenly...unexpected visitors.
- The Aged Mother by Matsuo Basho
Rather than being a burden, our elders still have much to teach us.
- The Doer of Good by Oscar Wilde
Wilde's prose poem about four people whose seemingly sinful behavior resulted from God's intervention.
- The Ass and His Purchaser by Aesop
A man is known by the company he keeps.
- The Morals of Chess by Benjamin Franklin
"Life is a kind of chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors to contend with, and in which is a vast variety of good and ill events that are, in some degree, the effects of prudence or the want of it."
- The Chicken Who Wouldn't Eat Gravel by Clara Dillingham Pierson
"The people who won't do hard things, when they ought to, have the hardest times in the end."
- The Dog and the Bees by Ambrose Bierce
One cannot stick to pure reason while quarreling with bees.
- The Five Boons of Life by Mark Twain
You decide: Fame, Love, Riches, Pleasure, or Death?
- The King and His Hawk by James Baldwin
Genghis Khan learned a valuable lesson about acting in anger from his loyal hawk.
- The Awful Fate of Melpomenus Jones by Stephen Leacock
Let this be a lesson to avoid protracted good-byes, as if your life depends on it!
- The Father by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
A father's blessing brought by his son; a gradual transformation towards spiritualism.
- A Story from Confucius by Confucius
A lesson in self-control in which he explains to his student how the teeth and tongue demonstrate that the strongest to resist is the first to decay.
- The Ephemera: Emblem of Human Life by Benjamin Franklin
The mayfly's life is fleeting; Franklin reminds us to spend ours wisely.
- Bruce and the Spider by James Baldwin
Scottish King Robert Bruce is inspired not to give up after watching a tenacious spider.
- The Shirt-Collar by Hans Christian Andersen
Don't be boastful or you'll end up in a bag of rags!
- The Wicked Prince by Hans Christian Andersen
All he wanted to do was conquer countries and frighten people, which he paid for in the end.
- Work, Death and Sickness by Leo Tolstoy
An Indian legend explaining how God tried to incerase man's happiness by introducing work, sickness and suffering. Did it work?
- Androclus and the Lion by James Baldwin
Kindness yields welcome returns, big and small.
- An Uncomfortable Bed by Guy de Maupassant
A textbook example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- A Fable by Mark Twain
Twain's clever allegory explaining why your perspective is inevitably a reflection of your work.
- Keeping Christmas by Henry van Dyke
Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world-- stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death?
- Emancipation. A Life Fable by Kate Chopin
The price of freedom is joy and suffering.
- Advice to Little Girls by Mark Twain
"Chews" your actions carefully and remember never to "sass" old people unless they "sass" you first.
- The Little Thief in the Pantry
This tale is about a compassionate girl who teaches a mouse the difference between giving and stealing.
- George Washington's Boyhood Rules by George Washington
At the age of thirteen, George Washington wrote down 110 rules to guide him in act and speech. They served him well, indeed!
- The Fight of the Good Ship Clarissa by Ray Bradbury
Sci-fi with a twist: endless rocket parties and a budding author writing, "Fascism is Communism with a Shave."
- Ex Oblivione by H.P. Lovecraft
"As I looked upon the little gate in the mighty wall, I felt that beyond it lay a dream-country from which, once it was entered, there would be no return."
- A Man with Two Lives by Ambrose Bierce
Did David Duck make it back alive or not?
- A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf
"Wandering through the house, opening the windows, whispering not to wake us, the ghostly couple seek their joy."
- A Wireless Message by Ambrose Bierce
"Central New York is not a region of perils, nor does one remain lost in it," but this man sure was dumbfounded with his experience there.
- Yuki-Onna by Lafcadio Hearn
The woman all in white said what would happen if Minokichi ever disclosed their secret...
- The Terrible Old Man by H.P. Lovecraft
A creepy tale about three bad men and one terrible one.
- The Man in the Brown Coat by Sherwood Anderson
"Sometimes the whole life of this world floats in a human face in my mind."
- Azathoth by H.P. Lovecraft
The story of a man who traveled "out of life on a quest into spaces whither the world's dreams had fled."
- Monday or Tuesday by Virginia Woolf
Lazy and indifferent, the heron shakes space easily from his wings.
- The Little Match Girl by Hans-Christian-Andersen
The poignant tale of a desperate girl who is comforted by warm memories in the end.
- The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
Hearing the news of her husband's death, Louise's range of emotions may surprise you.
- The Boston Massacre by Nathaniel Hawthorne
"Fire, you lobster-backs!" bellowed some. "You dare not fire, you cowardly red-coats," cried others.
- A Tent in Agony by Stephen Crane
A small man and a bear together in a tent? "The hand of heaven sometimes falls heavily upon the righteous."
- The Snake by Stephen Crane
A dramatic story about a man and a dog confronted by a snake.
- The Reticence of Lady Anne by H.H. Munro (SAKI)
Sometimes the silent treatment can get carried to the extreme.
- Two Military Executions by Ambrose Bierce
What really happened to Private Bennett Story Greene after his indiscretion striking his officer?
- One Summer Night by Ambrose Bierce
Two medical students get schooled about life after death, or is it vice versa?
- Doctor Chevalier's Lie by Kate Chopin
A doctor's choice to provide comfort with a lie, rather than reveal the unspeakable reality.
- Hearts and Hands by O. Henry
The twists and turns are unexpected, as was O. Henry's own life; he had fled to Honduras after being charged with embezzlement, turned himself in, served five years in federal prison, then published this story.
- A Newspaper Story by O. Henry
Is it fate or do the press and law enforcement work hand-in-hand?
- Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The author's treatment for nervous disease was never to touch pen, brush, or pencil. Thankfully, she ignored that advice.
- After Twenty Years by O. Henry
A man returns for an appointment he set up twenty years ago.
- Louisa May Alcott: A Child's Biography by Louisa May Alcott
"Lost-- Lost-- A little girl, six years old, in a pink frock, white hat, and new, green shoes." She called out, "Why- dat's ME!"