I am sure nobody noticed but I missed last month’s Story Club. And in my defense, there is so much to do and so little time! Anyway to make up, this month, instead of one story, I am attempting to tackle two short stories. Both are penned by the same author WW Jacobs, a British author who is mostly known for his macabre and haunting story The Monkey’s Paw although he mostly wrote humor stories.
If you haven’t read The Monkey’s Paw, please do read it before reading further. I don’t think there are any spoilers ahead but the read is not likely to make much sense unless you are familiar with the story.
The Monkey’s Paw has been a personal favorite for as long as I remember. And not only that, it left a permanent impact on me. That the monkey’s paw is from India and cursed/blessed by an Indian fakir somehow made the story all the more real for me. Whenever I read the story I go back to the drawing room of my first home where I lived as a child, and can almost hear the knock on the door, see the man standing at the door, the horrified silence…
The message ‘Be careful of what you ask for you may get it’ has remained with me ever since then and has sort of become my guiding principle for life as well.
I am quite paranoid and wary about not wishing. Indian mythological stories too have strengthened the belief that nothing good really comes out of wishes being granted. That in fact things could turn out to be worse than ever before. That it was better to make peace with what one had than hanker for things beyond us.
Like the famous Hindi poet, Sri Harivansh Rai Bachchan told his son Amitabh Bachchan, India’s megastar – Man ka ho to achcha aur na ho toh achcha
Translated, this reads as – If it happens as you wish it is good, but if it doesn’t, then it is even better.
Strange and quite incomprehensible isnt it? But what it means is that if things don’t happen according to your wish, then it is occurring as per the wishes of a higher force who is looking out for you and preventing you from treading paths that are bound to spell disaster for you. Only you don’t know it yet.
Anyway to come back to the story, I realized, that my memory of the story was sketchy and didn’t quite remember about the other two wishes. Perhaps I was too preoccupied by the outcome of the first wish to really comprehend what followed.
But now as I read it again, the end is what nags me. What if he had not made the third and the final wish? Who was it at the door? Would Herbert have returned? How far can things be reversed? Or was it all meant to be? Was fate playing a cruel game of her own? Having some fun at the expense of gullible disbelieving mortals? I wonder and wonder and wish that the father hadn’t wished the third wish.
Oops I forgot…
I don’t wish do I?
After that heavy piece here is a humorous piece from WW Jacob – The Golden Venture. It is a lighthearted fun read which reiterates that nothing good comes out of bad. A comfortable and fun story. I hope you read this one too and share your reactions as well. As for me, for the second story, that is all I am going to say because while reading it I was led astray. I found the characters and story so engaging that I was inspired to pen a short story.
I am posting that story The Inheritance separately – click to read it.
As always I would love to know your reactions, opinions, suggestions and even better, if you feel like it, post a review of the stories or pen an inspired version of your own. Drop a link in the comment box and I will be along for a read.
A quick recap of the Story Club:Rules are simple (and breakable) :
- Advance announcement of name of short story, one that is freely available on the net.
- Story maybe a folktale or in the local language. But an English translation should be freely available on the net. Or participant could post the translated version along with his or her review.
- Bloggers should post on their blog.
- The basic idea is to gain from each others rich heritage of literature and be able to understand a little bit more than before and of course have fun!
Anyone interested in hosting the next month’s Story Club? Please feel free to may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t want to host a story club, but if you have a favorite short story, do share it – thanks!