- 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 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"-- 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.
- 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 The Aged Mother
Rather than being a burden, our elders still have much to teach us.
- 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.
- 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!"