In these stories characters make a sacrifice, either of themselves or someone else.
Holiday | Katherine Anne Porter
A young woman goes on holiday to a Texas farm owned by a German family. There she meets Ottilie, a deformed, physically disabled servant girl.
Bellflower | Guy De Maupassant
A narrator gives us a recollection of the life of Mother Bellflower, an old seamstress with a bad leg and a mysterious past.
The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant | W. D. Wetherell
A fourteen-year-old boy who loves fishing spends his summer vacation at his family’s cabin. He’s infatuated with seventeen-year-old Sheila Mant, from the cabin next door. He watches her longingly for some time before asking her to a concert.
The Hero | Gabriele D’Annunzio
The citizens of Mascalico have a procession and offer sacrifices to their patron Saint. One of the men helping with the procession gets injured.
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The Gay Old Dog | Edna Ferber
Jo Hertz is a plump, lonely bachelor of fifty. The narrator tells us Jo’s story from the age of twenty-seven when his mother died and she got him to promise to put his life on hold until his three sisters were cared for.
The Sin Eater | Margaret Atwood
The narrator talks about her therapist, Joseph. He told her about a Wales tradition where a person known as a Sin Eater would be called to eat a meal over a dead body. This would transfer the dead person’s sins to the eater, thus clearing the deceased’s way to heaven. When Joseph has an accident, the narrator find out about his life from his ex-wives and other patients.
The Gift of the Magi | O. Henry
A poor husband and wife try to figure out how to get each other a nice Christmas present.
The Derelict | Pauline Johnson
Cragstone was full of promise, but proved to be mediocre in all his endeavours. After becoming an Anglican priest, he falls in love with Lydia, a mixed-blood woman who had been dismissed from her post, accused of theft.