Title: The Cripple
Date Read: 30 January 2012
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: The narrator enters an empty train carriage and takes his seat, before he is joined by a man who has considerable difficulty in walking. As the train gets under way the carriage companions begin to have a distant recollection that they know each other. It turns out they do, and the narrator begins to hear of the terrible fate that befell the crippled man.
Afterthoughts: It seems to me that there are a lot of Maupassant tales that take place on trains, and this one is no exception. It’s a good story and it comes with an unusual aspect – it plays on the emotions in a seesaw kind of way. One moment the spirits are lifted, and the next they’re brought down again, and so it continues until the very end, when one leaves the story in a somewhat lifted mood (thankfully, because many of Maupassant’s stories, as readers of him will know, come with quite sorrowful endings). I wouldn’t say that this is the best story I’ve read from Maupassant, but it’s certainly worth reading if only to experience the roller coaster ride of emotion that the story takes you on (only mildly emotional mind you, so there’s need for a box of tissues :)).
Notable Quote: Then a head appeared, and two hands seized the leather straps hanging on either side of the door and slowly pulled up an enormous body, whose feet striking on the step, sounded like two canes. When the man had hoisted his torso into the compartment I noticed, at the loose edge of his trousers, the end of a wooden leg, which was soon followed by its mate. A head appeared behind this traveller and asked; “Are you all right, monsieur?”
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.