Best Jorge Luis Borges Short Stories + PDF

Best Jorge Luis Borges Short Stories PDF
Jorge Luis Borges Short Stories

Great news if you’re looking for a book of Jorge Luis Borges short stories—Borge’s Collected Fictions, linked below, is a comprehensive gathering of his shorter works. Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories to check out. The short stories with PDF links are noted below. The stories are divided by the collection they appeared in. First, here are some of Borges’s best short stories (more on these selections below):

  • “The Garden of Forking Paths”
  • “The Lottery of Babylon”
  • “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote”
  • “The Circular Ruins”
  • “The Library of Babel”
  • “Funes the Memorious”
  • “The Sect of the Phoenix”
  • “Emma Zunz”
  • “Borges and I”
  • “The Aleph”
  • “Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”

Jorge Luis Borges Short Stories

A Universal History of Infamy

Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories from his 1935 collection A Universal History of Infamy.

“The Cruel Redeemer Lazarus Morell”

Lazarus Morell was an evil man who worked near the Mississippi river. He was one of the poor whites during the days of slavery, but he was proud of his “untainted” blood. He engaged in various unethical schemes, but one in particular was shocking in its cruelty.

This story can be read in the preview of Collected Fictions(Pg. 6)

“The Improbable Imposter Tom Castro”

Arthur Orton left London as a young man and went out to sea. He was a jovial and gentle idiot. In Sydney, he became acquainted with a servant, Ebenezer Bogle, a moderate and highly intelligent man. They became friends. In 1865, Bogle saw a report in the paper that gave him an idea.

This story can also be read in the above preview of Collected Fictions(Pg. 13)

“The Widow Ching—Pirate”

In 1797, the pirate ships of the Yellow Sea formed a consortium, led by Captain Ching, the fleet admiral. They have great success. When Captain Ching gets poisoned, his widow encourages the crew to go into business for themselves. She’s voted the new admiral. Her leadership is strict, severe and successful.

This story can also be read in the preview of Collected Fictions. (Pg. 19)

You can get all the Jorge Luis Borges short stories on this page and many more in Collected Fictions.

The Garden of Forking Paths

Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories that appeared in the 1941 collection The Garden of Forking Paths.

“The Lottery of Babylon”

A simple lottery—paying a copper coin to win a silver one—has to change when the public loses interest in it. Introducing unlucky numbers that obligate the drawer to pay a heavy fine increases interest. The lottery continues to evolve, exerting tremendous influence over everyone’s lives.

“The Garden of Forking Paths”

When a German spy calls his contact, Runeberg, a different man answers—Captain Richard Madden, an English agent. Runeberg has been caught and his own cover has been blown. He’s discovered a secret, the location of a British artillery park. That vital information will die with him unless he can figure out a way to communicate it.

“Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”

Five years ago the narrator heard a quotation that originated from the country of Uqbar. His acquaintance remembered it from an encyclopedia entry. They search through the book, but can’t find the entry on the country. After some searching, they do find it. They’re surprised to learn it doesn’t appear in all copies of the book. He tries to locate more information about this country.

“Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote”

The narrator, a French academic, outlines the works of Pierre Menard, an author. According to the narrator, these are merely Menard’s visible works. He is going to focus on what he believes to be the authors’ unparalleled achievement—some chapters of the novel Don Quixote.

Read “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” (PDF)

“The Circular Ruins”

A man goes to a ruined temple with the purpose of dreaming a man into existence and having him inhabit the real world. He makes progress when he starts dreaming the man one piece at a time.

Read “The Circular Ruins” (PDF)

“The Library of Babel”

The narrator’s universe, a Library, is made up of endless galleries full of books. He has been looking for one in particular. It contains every possible book that could ever be written. As a result, most of its contents are complete nonsense.

Read “The Library of Babel” (PDF)


Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories from his 1944 collection Artifices.

“Funes the Memorious” (Funes, His Memory)

Ireneo Funes is paralyzed when he falls off a horse. It has another effect on him as well—he remembers every detail of everything he experiences.

Read “Funes the Memorious” (PDF)

“The Sect of the Phoenix”

The narrator relates the history and activity of a secret society. Its members are identified by the performance of a particular ritual.

Read “The Sect of the Phoenix” (PDF)

“Death and the Compass”

Erik Lonnrot investigates a series of murders that involve Red Scharlach, a criminal who has sworn to kill Lonnrot. It begins when a rabbi is found dead in his room near the door with a stab wound to the chest. The police commissioner offers a simple explanation—a robber went to the wrong place and had to kill the rabbi. Lonnrot believes there’s a complex mystery to uncover. Supporting this theory is a message found in the typewriter.

“The End”

Recabarren lies on his back in bed, paralyzed. Outside, a man plays the guitar. Through the window, Recabarren sees a horseman approaching. The guitar player knew he would come. He’s been waiting a long time.

“The Shape of the Sword”

The narrator meets an Englishman while drinking. He has a terrible scar on his face. The narrator asks him how he got the scar. The man reveals he is actually Irish. He tells the story of his time with a group who were fighting for independence. They were joined by a new man, John Vincent Moon, who was inexperienced and immature.

“The Secret Miracle”

On March 19, 1939, an accusation is made against Jaromir Hladik, an author. He’s arrested that day and taken to a barracks. He can’t refute the charges. He’s sentenced to be executed by firing squad ten days later. Hladik is horrified but his concern soon shifts to his unfinished drama, The Enemies.

The Jorge Luis Borges short stories in the collection Ficciones are a combination of the above two collections.

The Aleph

Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories from his 1949 collection The Aleph.

“Emma Zunz”

When Emma comes home from work, there’s a letter informing her of her father’s death by accidental overdose in a hospital in Brazil. She believes it was intentional on his part. She thinks about the prison sentence for embezzlement at the mill that ruined the family. Her father told her it was actually Aaron Lowenthal, the manager. She plans revenge.

Read “Emma Zunz” (PDF)

“The Immortal”

A manuscript is found that relates the story of a Roman soldier, Marcus Rufus. A wounded man arrives at his camp and, before dying, tells Rufus about a river whose water gives immortality and the adjacent City of the Immortals. Rufus is given leave to set out with a company of soldiers and mercenaries in search of this city.

“The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths”

A Babylonian king commissioned his architects and priests to build a labyrinth to confuse the most prudent of men. When he’s visited by an Arab king, he has him enter the labyrinth. The Arab king is humiliated by the experience. He tells the Babylonian king that he also has a labyrinth, and he will see to it that he gets to walk in it.

Read “The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths”

“The Aleph”

After the death of the woman he loves, the narrator begins visiting her father and first cousin, Carlos Daneri, every year. Daneri speaks on a variety of subjects, all of which the narrator views as meaningless. In particular, he reads and praises his own poetry. When he runs into a problem with his landlords, he reveals something shocking about his house.

Read “The Aleph” (PDF)

“The Other Death”

The narrator gets the news that an ex soldier and man he once met, Pedro Damian, has died in his sixties. The man was known for his cowardice in battle. Later, he is told that Pedro Damian actually died over 40 years ago while courageously leading a charge into enemy territory. He investigates the discrepancy.

“Ibn-Hakam al-Bokhari, Murdered in His Labyrinth”

Dunraven, an author, and Unwin, a scholar, talk about the mystery around the death of Ibn-Hakam al-Bokhari, an important personage along the Nile. He died in the central chamber of a house at the hand of his cousin Sa’īd. Dunraven tells the man’s story. He accumulated a treasure from plundering and pillaging, and he murdered his cousin Sa’īd. With his last words, Sa’īd vowed to slay his killer.

“Story of the Warrior and the Captive Maiden”

The historian Paul the Deacon records a notable incident in the life of Droctulft, a Lombard warrior. During the siege of Ravenna, he left his own attacking force and died defending the city. Borges parallels this incident with another—an Englishwoman who was taken from her people.

Read “Story of the Warrior and the Captive” (PDF)

The Maker

Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories from his 1960 collection The Maker.

“Borges and I”

Borges talks of his dual identities as a writer and a man.

Read “Borges and I” (PDF)

“Covered Mirrors”

The narrator has been uneasy with mirrors since childhood. He prayed that he wouldn’t dream of mirrors. He relates a story about the horror of mirrors. It involved a young woman, Julia, who he associated with for a while.

Read “Covered Mirrors”

Jorge Luis Borges Short Stories
Jorge Luis Borges Short Stories

In Praise of Darkness

Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories from his 1969 collection In Praise of Darkness.

“The Ethnographer”

Fred Murdock, an American university student, goes to live on a reservation on the advice of a professor, as research for his dissertation. His purpose will be to discover the secret of the medicine men.


Cain and Abel, after Abel’s death, encounter each other in the desert. They sit and eat and, eventually, discuss their history.

Doctor Brodie’s Report

Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories from his 1970 collection Doctor Brodie’s Report.

“The Other Duel”

The narrator tells the story as he heard it of Manuel Cardoso and Carmen Silveira, two men with adjacent properties who started quarrelling. Their grudge continued into a civil war where they fought on the same side.

Jorge Luis Borges Short Stories
Jorge Luis Borges Short Stories

The Book of Sand

Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories from his 1975 collection The Book of Sand.

“The Other”

Borges recounts a meeting he had about three years prior. A man sat next to him on a bench. He believed it to be a younger version of himself. He tried to convince the other man of this.

Shakespeare’s Memory

Here are some Jorge Luis Borges short stories from his 1983 collection Shakespeare’s Memory.

“August 25, 1983”

Late at night, Borges walks toward a hotel where he’s stayed many times. The owner doesn’t recognize him. As he prepares to sign the register, he sees his own name already written; the ink isn’t dry yet. The owner remarks on his similarity to the older gentleman in Room 19. Borges hurries up the stairs.

“The Rose of Paracelsus”

In his cellar laboratory, Paracelsus prays for a disciple. As night falls, a man comes to his door. Paracelsus doesn’t recognize the man. He’s traveled three days straight to make it here. He wants to become his disciple, and he’s brought money as an offering.

I’ll keep adding Jorge Luis Borges short stories as I find them.