The Miracle of Zobéide – When a Christian and a Muslim cannot agree on the power of God, one offers a challenge to the other. Is it really God at work, first making the turtle called Zobeide larger, and then smaller until she disappears all together? Or is it a splendid trick and the Christian never catches on? This is a great short story that will stop and make you think; about the power of influence, and the strength of one determined to defend his beliefs, in a clever, non-criminal way.
VILLIERS DE L’ISLE ADAM
The Torture by Hope – A man condemned because he refuses to renounce his religion sees the opportunity to escape on the eve prior to his (and 43 others) scheduled execution. His escape does not go as planned, and one might even suspect the opportunity to escape was intentionally provided, just to torture one by hope.
EMILE ERCKMANN- ALEXANDRE CHATRAIN
The Owl’s Ear -A man, appearing to be a hobo, bum, vagabond, is arrested for no good reason other than he refused to tell the town constable what he was doing in that deep, dark cistern.
Full of despair in prison for only part of a night, the hobo hanged himself. Only later would the cousin of the constable discover the true meaning of what the hobo was doing. Out of anger at such a brilliant life and mind cut short, he refused to tell the constable the truth, or ever visit him again.
The Invisible Eye – What I would consider a bit long for a short story, this one was definitely a bit strange and disturbing. What appeared to be a haunted room at the local Inn was capable of driving each of its guests to hang themselves from the outside crossbeam before morning light. A painter who lived across the street seemed to be the only one to take notice of the local hag, called Fledermausse. Being convinced it was her driving these victims to suicide, the painter kept a close eye on her, until he saw the opportunity to even the score, and stop the curse. He was able to give the hag a taste of her own medicine, which was the last taste of anything she would ever have again.
The Waters of Death – a quick read about a cavern of mineral water that seems to have healing powers; yet after skeletons of various animals, and humans, are purged from the cavern, no one dares drink or swim there again. Except for one unlucky soul. I found this story okay enough, but more boring than what I had previously read.
There are a few more stories in this book, and I will share those that I find of interest. There are a couple I have read that are not worth mentioning, but all-in-all, I am pretty happy with this book!