Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Very Big Man and the Smaller Man

   I heard a story about a princess who was trapped in a tower. A man arrived to rescue her, but as he made his way towards the tower he fell over a shoe. He said, "What idiot would leave a shoe as big as that in the middle of a field for someone to trip over?"
   If he'd put more thought into it he'd have come to the conclusion that a very big shoe probably belongs to a very big man, and that it was quite possible that this man was within earshot of his shoe, unless he was so tall that his ears couldn't pick up the sounds from the ground.
   The man who had been on his way to rescue the princess realised his mistake when a very big man emerged from the woods, and this man was wearing only one shoe. "I am that idiot," he bellowed. Because that's what very big men do in these stories. They bellow, and they make small animals cower. The smaller man who was there to rescue the princess didn't cower when he was bellowed at, but only because he was lying on the ground after falling over the shoe, and there's nowhere to cower into when you're flat on the ground, unless you find a rabbit hole. It would have to be a giant rabbit if you were to fit into it, unless you were a very small man. But this man was neither very small nor small. He was smaller than the very big man. He did his best to un-do the insult. He smiled at the very big man and he said, "Isn't it a lovely day?" The very big man had to accept that yes, it was a lovely day. "And wasn't it grand yesterday as well?" Again, the very big man couldn't deny that it was grand yesterday as well. "Hopefully tomorrow will be just as nice."
   At this point the very big man smiled and said, "I'm tall enough to see into tomorrow and it won't be as nice as today or yesterday. We'll have some rain in the afternoon. It'll be dull before that."
   "Is that a fact?" the smaller man said.
   The very big man said, "Yeah. But it should clear up again in the evening."
   "Is that a fact?"
   "I can see it with my own two eyes."
   "And what else can you see?"
   "Lots of things."
   "Is that a fact?"
   They went to the pub to discuss this in more detail. After a few drinks the very big man was able to see everything clearly. A lot of what he saw was unimportant, but there was one thing that intrigued the smaller man. Two farmers would have a horse race to settle a dispute about a turkey. The farmer with the thick red beard would win. The smaller man knew that the farmer with the thick red beard was probably Mulligan and the other man was probably O'Sullivan because they were always getting into disputes and altercations.
   The very big man was right about this. The horse race got underway at midday. They'd race from a pub to a church seven miles away and back again. The very big man and the smaller man both bet everything they had on Mulligan, and they got great odds. All of the drinkers in the pub thought that O'Sullivan was the clear favourite. They just saw a blur when they watched his horse in full flight, but there were times when they looked at hedgehogs and saw a blur, even when the hedgehogs weren't moving.
   The smaller man never doubted that Mulligan would win when he placed the bet and watched the two horses disappear over a ditch. But then the sun came out. This was surely a bad omen. The very big man had predicted rain. Things looked bleak when they watched O'Sullivan return in bright sunshine, and Mulligan was nowhere to be seen. O'Sullivan just had one final ditch to jump before reaching the pub, but the horse refused to jump it. O'Sullivan cleared it with ease -- he didn't have any choice in the matter when the horse stopped suddenly. He landed on the ground and he rolled. It seemed as if he didn't know where he was at first, but he soon realised that there was a ditch between himself and his horse. It only took him a minute to figure out how to rectify this. He opened the nearest gate and he went into the field where the horse was.
   It didn't take the horse long to guess that O'Sullivan wanted to climb on board again and have another go at jumping the ditch. As O'Sullivan chased his horse around the field, Mulligan arrived on the scene. He saw that there was little point in trying to convince his horse to jump the ditch when they could go through the open gate.
   So Mulligan's horse won the race and the smaller man won a small fortune. But he soon remembered that he used to be the man who was going to rescue the princess from the tower. He set off towards the tower with a spring in his step and pockets full of money. She wasn't happy at being kept waiting, and she threw flowerpots at his head. One of them knocked him unconscious. The very big man had told him that this would happen, but he hadn't taken any notice of it because he was so excited about the race.

The Tree and the Horse
Henry Seaward-Shannon
A Walk in the Rain
The East Cork Patents Office
Words are my favourite noises




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very slight stories

They Met a Bear
  They stopped in a small seaside town and they went for a walk. They met a bear.
  This is one version of the story. In another version, they met a sailor, and in this one they ended up being held at gunpoint on a speedboat and becoming unwilling participants in a diamond robbery while disguised as a cow, and sharing in the proceeds of that crime.
  So when they tell the story they just say, "We met a bear. He waved at us."

The Story of the Fortune Teller and the Alarm Clock
  A fortune teller threw an alarm clock at me. This story is deliberately lacking in details to mock the predictions of the fortune teller. Although she was right when she said she'd throw an alarm clock at me.

  One. Two. Three, the study. Four, a candle stick. Five. Six...
  Seven is missing, presumed dead. One has taken up the case, and two is helping him in his investigations. They both suspect six. Seven was last seen next to six in the garden.
  But seven isn't really dead. He's consumed half a bottle of whiskey and he's currently in the orchard, talking to a rabbit. "One of us is as boring as a gate post," he says, "and it's not..." He stops to count on his fingers. "No, actually it is me."
  Eight nine ten.

Debbie and his dog
  Debbie was sick of people mistaking her for a man.
  "Is your dog my parole officer?"
  She was sick of people asking her that too.

Very Slight Stories: like short stories, only shorter

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