Philip K. Dick, The Eyes Have It
The Eyes Have It

75 Short Short Stories

Stories to enjoy when you have five minutes to spare, grouped by category to suit your mood: Witty Stories, Introspective Stories, Morality Tales, Other-Worldly Stories, Feel-Good/Love Stories, Dramatic Stories, and Political Farce Stories

Had a rough day? Cheer up with 50 Great Feel-Good Stories and a generous helping of comforting Foodie Stories

Witty Stories

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
The Fable of the Preacher Who Flew His Kite
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!
Short-Short Stories: Borrowing a Match
Borrowing a Match
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
About Barbers
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!"
The Patient Cat
The Patient Cat
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 Night Came Slowly
The Night Came Slowly

Introspective Stories

An Idle Fellow by Kate Chopin

"I think I shall walk a space through the world with my friend Paul."
The Night Came Slowly by Kate Chopin
"The night came slowly, softly, as I lay out there under the maple tree."
An Imperial Message by Franz Kafka
This metaphysical story feels almost like a Kafka-esque "Where's Waldo?"
An Imperial Message
An Imperial Message
The Haunted Mind by Nathaniel Hawthorne
"In the depths of every heart there is a tomb and a dungeon, though the lights, the music and revelry, above may cause us to forget their existence and the buried ones or prisoners whom they hide."
Change by Theodore Dreiser
"If I were to preach any doctrine to the world it would be love of change, or at least lack of fear of it."
A Handful of Clay by Henry van Dyke
"It was only common clay, coarse and heavy; but it had high thoughts of its own value, and wonderful dreams..."
Amy's Question by T.S. Arthur
"Isn't it beautiful, mother? And it makes me feel so quiet and happy. I wonder why it is?"
James Baldwin, The Blind Men and the Elephant
The Blind Men and the Elephant
The Blind Men and the Elephant by James Baldwin
This parable originally from India has been adapted by many religions and cultures with the underlying message that collective wisdom leads to the truth.
A Reflection by Kate Chopin
"It is greater than the stars--that moving procession of human energy."

The Aged Mother
The Aged Mother

Morality Tales

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 Morals of Chess
The Morals of Chess
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!
A Story from Confucius
A Story from Confucius
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
Bruce and the Spider
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
Androclus and the Lion
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?
Advice to Little Girls
Advice to Little Girls
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
The Fight of the Good Ship Clarissa

Other-Worldly Stories

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."
The Terrible Old Man
The Terrible Old Man
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.

Cousin Tribulation's Story
Cousin Tribulation's Story

Feel-Good/Love Stories

Cousin Tribulation's Story by Louisa May Alcott

A heartwarming story about an oatmeal parade and "angel-children" who help a family in need.
The Kiss by Kate Chopin
A story about how an errant kiss is just the thing to prompt a girl to take action.
The Great Feast by Laura E. Richards
Who would have thought one small cookie could be the source of such an imaginative celebration?
Mix War, Art and Dancing by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway's delightful account of the respite a dance provides during wartime.
The Omnibus by Arthur Quiller-Couch
Bus passengers are curious about the rider from Charing Cross, a young boy with a stick, bundle and bouquet.
The Star Lovers
The Star Lovers
The Star Lovers by Grace James
A beautiful Japanese folktale about the Weaving Maiden and the Herd Boy.
Caline by Kate Chopin
An acadian girl's curiousity is piqued after a train breaks down near her farm.
Fickle Fortune or How Gladys Hustled by O. Henry
Oh, Gladys, who's love will you accept with these 467 pages?
A Blunder by Anton Chekhov
Over-eager parents eavesdrop on a courtship, it's quite a portrait.
The Happy Family by Hans Christian Andersen
A tender story about the last great white snails, thought to be extinct.
The Choice
The Choice
Two Nights at Neempani by Arnaba Saha
An emerging author tells the story about love and loss in India.
The Choice by Arnaba Saha
A child's narrative about an interview to determine which of her parents she loves best.
Little Benjamin by Laura E. Richards
Left on their door-step ten years ago, he's been nothing but trouble ever since.
A Story of Robin Hood by James Baldwin
Who knew Robin Hood stood up for unrequited lovers as well as for the poor!

The Little Match Girl
The Little Match Girl

Dramatic Stories

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 Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre
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
A Newspaper 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!"

Hermann The Irascible
Hermann The Irascible

Political Farce

Hermann The Irascible by H.H. Munro (SAKI)

A playful farce about what would happen if women's right to vote became an obligation.
An Inquiry by Anton Chekhov
The wheels of corrupt bureaucracy move at an exacting price.
The Death of a Government Clerk by Anton Chekhov
Over-apologizing to a higher-up just might kill you.
Fat and Thin by Anton Chekhov
Chekhov's commentary on the power of Russia's vertical hierarchy trumping all else.

Looking for more? Check out our Favorite Short Stories Collection. You may also enjoy 100 Great Poems
Read about the authors' own stories in American Biographies

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