Fantastic Fables

Fantastic-Fables-200x300 Fantastic Fables

Fantastic Fables by Ambrose Bierce.

Ambrose Bierce is well knows for his 1899 publication of Fantastic Fables anticipated the grotesquerie style that would emerge in the 20th century and is now exemplified by the work of Katherine Anne Porter.

The stories in Fantastic Fables are often absurd and feature an ironic twist. These are brief and wonderful tales exhibiting yet another facet of Bierce’s wit and talent.

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The Crimson Candle

A man lying at the point of death called his wife to his bedside and said: “I am about to leave you forever; give me, therefore, one last proof of your affection and fidelity, for, according to our holy religion, a married man seeking admittance at the gate of Heaven is required to

The Blotted Escutcheon and the Soiled Ermine

A Blotted Escutcheon, rising to a question of privilege, said: “Mr. Speaker, I wish to hurl back an allegation and explain that the spots upon me are the natural markings of one who is a direct descendant of the sun and a spotted fawn. They come of no accident of character, but inhere in the divine order and constitution of things.”

The Ingenious Patriot

Having obtained an audience of the King an Ingenious Patriot pulled a paper from his pocket, saying: “May it please your Majesty, I have here a formula for constructing armour-plating which no gun can pierce. If these plates are adopted in the Royal Navy our warships will be invulnerable, and therefore invincible. Here, also, are reports of your Majesty’s Ministers, attesting the value of the invention.

Two Kings

The King of Madagao, being engaged in a dispute with the King of Bornegascar, wrote him as follows: “Before proceeding further in this matter I demand the recall of your Minister from my capital.” Greatly enraged by this impossible demand, the King of Bornegascar replied:

An Officer and a Thug

A Chief of Police who had seen an Officer beating a Thug was very indignant, and said he must not do so any more on pain of dismissal. “Don’t be too hard on me,” said the Officer, smiling; “I was beating him with a stuffed club.” “Nevertheless,” persisted the Chief of Police, “it was a liberty that must have been very disagreeable,

How Leisure Came

A Man to Whom Time Was Money, and who was bolting his breakfast in order to catch a train, had leaned his newspaper against the sugar-bowl and was reading as he ate. In his haste and abstraction he stuck a pickle-fork into his right eye, and on removing the fork the eye came with it.

The Moral Sentiment

A Pugilist met the Moral Sentiment of the Community, who was carrying a hat-box. “What have you in the hat-box, my friend?” inquired the Pugilist. “A new frown,” was the answer. “I am bringing it from the frownery—the one over there with the gilded steeple.”
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