Short Stories About Revenge

Here you can find a short story with a character who seeks vengeance against someone who wrongs them, whether the slight is real or perceived.

These stories might interest an avid reader, or might be suitable short stories for middle school kids.

The Cask of Amontillado | Edgar Allan Poe

The narrator, Montresor, tells the story of how he sought revenge against a man who insulted him. Montresor lures the man into his cellar with the promise of tasting a rare vintage of Amontillado.

Read here

Nunc Dimittis | Roald Dahl

Lionel hears that his friend Janet has said something unflattering about him behind his back. He devises a plan to publicly embarrass her.

The Way Up to Heaven | Roald Dahl

Mrs. Foster is always punctual while her husband seems to take pleasure in delaying her for her appointments. Mrs. Foster plans to fly to see her daughter and granddaughters in Paris. On the morning of her trip, her husband stresses her unbearably by making her wait for him.

Read “The Way Up to Heaven”

The Catbird Seat | James Thurber

Mr. Martin, head of the filing department at a law firm, decides to kill Mrs. Barrows, an annoying and overbearing advisor to the founder, for planning a reorganization of his department.

Read here

In the Kindergarten | Ha Jin

A kindergarten teacher, low on money, organizes her students to pick purslanes (an edible weed), with the promise that they’ll be served them at dinner. Shaona, a new student who’s having trouble fitting in, notices that the teacher gives a lot of the purslanes to someone else.

The Vendetta | Guy de Maupassant

A widow’s son is murdered by a man who then flees to Sardinia. The boy’s mother vows to take revenge against her son’s killer.

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Enoch and the Gorilla | Flannery O’Connor

A famous gorilla from the movies is making a tour of some small theatres. Enoch Emery goes to meet it, with the plan of insulting it. When he gets embarrassed at the event, he decides to do something about it.

Read “Enoch and the Gorilla”

Wasps’ Nest | Agatha Christie

John Harrison is out in his garden when he gets an unexpected visit from his old friend, the detective Hercule Poirot. Poirot explains that he has come to investigate a murder that hasn’t yet happened; he’s going to stop it, and he would like his friend’s help.

The Mysterious Mansion | Honore De Balzac

A man’s landlady tells him part of the story of an old dilapidated house involving a Spanish prisoner of war. It’s unclear what became of him so the man tries to get the rest of the details from the housekeeper.

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Mother Sauvage | Guy De Maupassant

The narrator’s old acquaintance tells him the story of Mother Sauvage. Her son went to war fighting the Prussians. Meanwhile, Prussian forces occupy her home territory, and she has four soldiers assigned to live in her home. Both sides understand the situation, and she treats them well. When she gets news of her son’s death her attitude toward them changes.

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The Five Forty-Eight | John Cheever

When Blake steps off the elevator after work, he sees a woman he knows but doesn’t want to speak to. He realizes she is stalking him. He thinks about their brief relationship, and believes she will be easy to shake.

Read “The Five Forty-Eight”

Barn Burning | William Faulkner

Abner Snopes is being tried in a small-town court for allegedly burning down his landlord’s barn. He’s kicked out of town, and finds a new job working as a sharecropper.

Read “Barn Burning”

The Limitations of Pambe Serang | Rudyard Kipling

The narrator relates the story of Pambe Serang and a man who wronged him, Nurkeed. They were both aboard a ship, the Saarbruck. After Nurkeed had been drinking, he stole some of Pambe’s food. In the ensuing confrontation, Pambe gets stabbed and vows to settle the matter later.

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To the Man on the Trail | Jack London

A group of men are in the Alaskan wilderness in a bar after a long day’s work. A visitor named Westondale comes in, tells a story about following someone, talks about his family, and asks to be awakened in a few hours so he can continue on his journey. Shortly after he leaves, the police arrive with a different story.

Read here

An Official Position | Somerset Maugham

Louise Remire is serving 12 years in a penal colony for the murder of his wife. He is the colony’s executioner and this position of power and his attitude make him unpopular with the other inmates.

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The Outstation | Somerset Maugham

Mr. Wharburton, an Englishman, runs an outstation in a remote part of Borneo. He meets his new assistant, Cooper, a man much different from himself. Cooper is irresponsible and treats the locals with disdain.

The Veldt | Ray Bradbury

A family lives in a futuristic house that automatically meets all their needs, including a nursery for the children that can create any scene they want. The parents are thinking about reducing their reliance on technology by taking a break from the nursery and all the automation, but the children are against the idea.

Read here

Silence | Tadeusz Borowski

A man is seized in a German barracks and dragged into an alley. The mob is broken up when they are warned of an approaching company of American soldiers.

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Sweat | Zora Neale Hurston

Delia supports her abusive, cheating husband by washing clothes. He comes up with a plan to get rid of her, so he can take up with his mistress.

Read “Sweat”

A Jury of Her Peers | Susan Glaspell

When a farmer in Dixon County is found dead in his bed–strangled–his wife is held on suspicion of murder. The local authorities investigate while two of their wives collect some items for the accused.

Read here

Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye | Luisa Valenzuela

A woman on a bus gets fondled by the man next to her.

Read “Vision…”

Water | Fred Leebron

The narrator describes a former lover and friend who are now together. While watering the friend’s plants, he also takes the opportunity to do something else.

Read “Water”

The Shot | Alexander Pushkin

A regiment of Russian soldiers often goes to the home of Silvio, a mysterious man, to play cards and drink. A young soldier insults Silvio, but he lets it pass; he doesn’t challenge him to a duel as honor demands. This lowers his esteem in the eyes of his guests.

Read “The Shot”

The Cone | H. G. Wells

Raut, an artist, is sitting with Mrs. Horrocks in her home. Raut asks if her husband knows about them, but she assures him he doesn’t. As they talk about their feelings for each other, they hear the door click shut. Mr. Horrocks stands in front of them. They aren’t sure how much he has heard.

Read “The Cone”

Miss Awful | Arthur Cavanaugh

Robert is a third grade student who finds out his teacher, Miss Wilson, is going to be away for a while. He likes Miss Wilson because she is fun and lenient. The substitute teacher, Miss Orville, is strict about completing schoolwork and maintaining order in the classroom.

Read “Miss Awful”

The Sun-Dog Trail | Jack London

Sitka Charley is relaxing after a day on the Alaskan trail. He and the narrator start talking about a painting, which reminds Sitka of an arduous journey he once made. When he was a letter carrier on Lake Linderman, a young woman hired him to take her to Dawson. Then she hires him to travel with her. She is desperately looking for something but doesn’t tell him what.

Read “The Sun-Dog Trail”

Laura | Saki

Laura, who expects to die soon, believes she will be reincarnated as something suitable to her behavior and personality, probably an otter.

Read “Laura”

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg | Mark Twain

Hadleyburg is an honest and upright town. A mysterious stranger is holding a grudge against a few citizens, but rather that seeking revenge against the individuals he wants to corrupt the whole town. He launches his scheme by dropping off a sack of gold coins at the Richards’ home. A note explains that the coins will be awarded to whoever can repeat the wise advice that was given to the stranger years ago.

Read “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg”

Captain Rogers | W. W. Jacobs

After a long walk, a stranger enters town and goes to an inn, The Golden Key. He demands to speak to the landlord, whom he calls Rogers. The landlord says his name is Mullet. The stranger says there is a hundred guineas on the head of his old shipmate, Rogers, and demands clothes, food, lodging, and money. The landlord reluctantly starts to accommodate his visitor.

Read “Captain Rogers”

Benny Wins Powerball | Erin Gough

Benny wins the Powerball lottery. He lives with his grandmother; his older brother, Big Dave; and sister, Jube. Benny’s siblings view him as an unlucky loser. Even though there was no prior agreement to share any winnings, they are expecting a fair cut.

Read “Benny Wins Powerball”

An African Story  | Roald Dahl

An old man thinks he hears a noise. He comes outside and listens. He hears the high-pitched yelp of a dog coming from the shed of his neighbor, Judson.

“An African Story” (Ctl + F the title)

Hop-Frog | Edgar Allan Poe

The king loves jokes, especially practical jokes. His court jester, or “fool”, is a dwarf and a cripple named Hop-Frog. The king treats him badly, but Hop-Frog does his best to get by. A great state party is approaching, so the king turns to his “fool” for some costume advice.


Haircut | Ring Lardner

A barber talks about the local practical joker after he was recently killed.

Read “Haircut”

I will try to add more stories about revenge that could be helpful for teaching reading and reading comprehension to middle and high school students. Eventually, I hope these pages will become a teaching resource.