"The Californian's Tale" by Mark Twain is a short story about a man, Henry, waiting for his wife to come home. What the narrator and reader do not know until the end of the story is that Henry's wife has been dead for 19 years.
The narrator of the story is a stranger to a town where he meets Henry who talks incessantly about his wife. The narrator goes to a party at Henry's house with other friends to welcome Henry's wife home. Right before she is due back, Henry is drugged by his friends and falls asleep. Later the friends tell the narrator that Henry's wife disappeared 19 years ago on the way back from visiting her mother. She was kidnapped by Native Americans and never heard from again. As a result, Henry went mad. He lives each year waiting for his wife to come home. It is only during the week of her disappearance that he gets truly anxious. This is where the friends come in. They check up on Henry, talk to him about his wife, let Henry read them an old letter and finally throw a party. At the exact moment that his wife should arrive home, they drug Henry so that he can sleep peacefully through the night.Learn More
"The Wife of Bath's Tale" is set in the time of King Arthur's reign in England. Since there are no reliable historical sources that document a King Arthur who ruled at any time in England, scholars can't pinpoint a definitive year in which "The Wife of Bath's Tale" is set. Speculation ranges from as early as the 5th or 6th century CE to potentially as late as the 10th century CE.Full Answer >
"Luck" is about an English captain named Lord Arthur Scoresby who seems to be a complete idiot but, despite his incompetence, is so lucky that he manages to be acclaimed as a hero and a military genius. The story is narrated by a clergyman who is obviously envious of the captain's success. It is unclear whether the captain is truly incompetent or only appears so in the clergyman's eyes.Full Answer >
In Edward Everett Hale's "The Man Without a Country," U.S. Army officer Philip Nolan is tried and found guilty for treason, exiled and sentenced to life on U.S. Navy warships. Over time, he realizes how little he appreciated America and how much he truly loves his country.Full Answer >
"The Merchant's Tale" by Geoffrey Chaucer does not contain a moral message. The story is a parody on the morals of the medieval English aristocratic society. The comic genre that Chaucer uses in "The Merchant's Tale" is called "fabliau."Full Answer >