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We summon the strength of faith or resolve for most any battle that we face head on. Whether it is in our professional or personal lives, we often overcome great obstacles. It is the small things like jealousy, anger, resentment, pettiness and negativity that eat us from the inside, which often bring about our downfall. Harry Emerson Fosdick The seven wonders of the world. One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox.
Could I help you? Look across the creek at that farm. In fact, it's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place anymore. Cool him down anyhow. Show me the nails and the post hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you.
The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge - a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work - handrails and all - and the neighbour, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder.
Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. One leads to isolation and the other to openness. The other side of the wall. The two lumberjacks It was the annual lumberjack competition and the final was between an older, experienced lumberjack and a younger, stronger lumberjack. The rule of the competition was quite simply who could fell the most trees in a day was the winner.
The last ride I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes, I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift, I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I wanted to change the world When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town.
I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!
The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital! He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.
As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally, just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The two hospital patients Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end.
They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on holiday. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour of the rainbow.
Grand old trees graced the landscape and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch and, after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.
She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.
When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. As Yun Ok approached the hermit's hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: His back still to her, he said, "Ah yes, it's often that way when soldiers return from the war.
What do you expect me to do about it? There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger. He turned his back. As you can see, I'm very busy. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger? The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce.
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She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away. The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave.
She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue.
Top 10 contemporary short stories
She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast. So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger thank goodness for that!
Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger's head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.
Removing the Sting from Stereotypes
After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away again, thank goodness! Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.
Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time. The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit's hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: I have the tiger's whisker!
With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?
Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. He is brilliant at evoking social nuance and has an unfailing eye for the tiniest detail that will shine light on the whole. This deliciously fat collection gives the reader the chance to dip in and out of one of the best observers of human behaviour.
Moore is notable for her arch tone and her sharp humour. But what makes her special is the way she can shift so smoothly to gut-wrenching poignancy. She writes about terminal illness, family dynamics and infidelity with equal fluency. Some of the best short stories contain unexpected moments of felicity on which the plot pivots. And so it was that, just as I was compiling this list, I received a giant package containing this doorstep of a book. It might be the most comprehensive collection of short stories… ever, featuring an all-star cast including Angela Carter, Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl and more, selected by David Miller, a literary agent and author.
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