These Guy de Maupassant short stories are arranged in alphabetical order of the first word of the title, excluding “The”.
An approximate word count is included, as well as a link for reading, if possible.
A Dead Woman’s Secret | 1,400 words
A dead woman’s adult children, a judge and a nun, sit vigil and read her old letters which reveal a secret from her past.
A Piece of String | 2,340 words
A man is walking to the market one day when he stops to pick up a piece of string. Soon after, it is reported that a wallet with 500 francs was lost. His act of picking up something makes him a suspect. He vehemently denies any guilt.
A Sale | 2,100 words
Brument and Cornu are in court, accused of the attempted murder by drowning of Brument’s wife. They were both intoxicated during the time in question. They explain their intentions to the judge.
The plot doesn’t indicate it, but this is a lighthearted story.
Bellflower | 1,800 words
A narrator gives us a recollection of the life of Mother Bellflower, an old seamstress with a bad leg and a mysterious past.
Boule de Suif | 14,450 words
The Prussian army advances while the French army retreats. Ten passengers are given clearance to board a carriage and leave the city, with the possibility of crossing into England. Among the passengers is Boule de Suif, a prostitute who has to make a moral decision that will affect the whole group.
The Christening | 1,650 words
A doctor recounts the christening custom of his god-son’s people, where the baby is left exposed to the cold.
Coco | 1,460 words
A young farmhand beats and starves a nag in his care.
The Confession | 1,820 words
A woman makes a death-bed confession to her older sister about something that happened over 40 years ago.
The Dowry | 1,800 words
Simon and Jeanne are newly married. Simon plans to use Jeanne’s large dowry to buy a legal practice. They take a trip to Paris to enjoy each others company and to make the purchase.
Fear | 2,250 words
A ship’s captain tells some passengers about a time he felt afraid. One of the men objects, saying the captain doesn’t know what real fear is. He tells his own story to illustrate his point.
The Hand | 2,060 words
A judge relates an inexplicable incident from his past. An Englishman moved to a villa in France with a servant. Rumors spread about the man, so the judge found a way to get to know him. One evening the man shows the judge into his parlor, which contains an interesting item.
The Jewels (The False Gems) | 2,260 words
Monsieur Lantin is a government clerk. He and his wife are very happy. He is amazed by his wife’s ability to handle their finances. Madame Lantin has two vices: she loves going to the theater and she loves jewelry—she comes home nearly every night with a new piece of costume jewelry.
The Kiss | 1,350 words
A woman is upset when her husband leaves. Her aunt thinks she kissed her husband too much, so she explains the power of and proper use of the kiss.
Madame Tellier’s Establishment (La Maison Tellier) | 9,100 words
Madame Tellier runs a brothel in the town of Fecamp. It’s divided into two levels, the ground floor for sailors and rougher types, and the upper level for more refined customers. One evening in late May, some regulars arrive only to find it closed. Madame Tellier has been invited to the confirmation of her niece.
Mother Sauvage | 2,560 words
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 towards them changes.
The Necklace | 2,840 words
Mathilde borrows a necklace from a rich friend to wear to a party, but she loses it.
Regret | 2,120 words
A sixty-two year old bachelor thinks about his lonely life, and of a woman that he has always loved.
Rust | 2,625 words
Hector is in his fifties and has loved hunting all his life. He regularly visits his neighbors, the Courvilles, telling them stories of his quarry. When he gets sick, his routine is interrupted, prompting the Courvilles to come up with a way of improving his life.
Two Friends | 2,200 words
Two men, now members of the Paris National Guard because of an attack by Prussian soldiers, meet up with each other in the street. They reminisce about the fishing they did before the war, and decide to try and go back to their fishing spot, even though it’s in no man’s land.
Two Little Soldiers | 2,050 words
Two soldiers take a weekly Sunday rest and meal at a little spot in the country. They become acquainted with a milk maid who passes by.
The Vendetta | 1,620 words
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.