Devouring De Maupassant: The Piece of String

Title: The Piece of String
Date Read: 24 June 2009
Available Online?: YES (it should be noted though, that the version I read was from the Capuchin Classics edition On Horseback and Other Stories).
Briefly: It’s market day in Goderville and the country folk are flooding into town. Among them is Maitre Hauchecorne of Breaute, a frugal Norman who sees value in anything of use. Spotting a piece of string lying in the road he bends down and picks it up, only to be spotted by an arch rival. Embarrassed, the proud man quickly hides the string in his pocket and continues on his way. All then seems well in Goderville until the town crier announces that a pocket-book containing money has been lost, and the owner is keen for its return.
Afterthoughts: I don’t know what it is but this writer thrills me more and more each time I read him. The descriptive narrative in this story is remarkable, as is the story itself. It’s not a ‘feel good’ tale by any stretch, but such is De Maupassant’s construction of it, that one can’t help feeling a warm contented afterglow, brought on by the quality of the man’s writing.
Notable Quote: “He took up the bit of thin string from the ground and was carefully preparing to roll it up when he saw Maitre Melandain, the harness-maker, on his doorstep gazing at him. They had once had a quarrel about a halter, and they had borne each other malice ever since”

Rating: ★★★★½

*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I love this story too! I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of his writing.

  2. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    Yay for us Maupassant lovers everywhere Rebecca! :o)