Every morning almost I check the web page East of the Web: Short Stories to see what they have selected as their story of the day. I would suggest anyone interested in reading more short stories and for sure anyone just getting into short stories who might not know what to read to check it out. "Quail Seed" by Saki (1870 to 1916-Hector Munro-UK) is the story of the day this morning.
Saki is one of the most popular of all short story writers. He is famous for his great twist or surprise endings. So far I have posted on nine of his stories. I would say his stories are very well written in a prose style that will make you smile. All that I have read so far have been good natured satires set in comfortably middle class or above Edwardian England.
This story is set in a small grocery store trying to compete against new much bigger stores. The next time you go into a giant super market type grocery store think back on these lines from Saki in 1911:
"The outlook is not encouraging for us smaller businesses," said Mr. Scarrick to the artist and his sister, who had taken rooms over his suburban grocery store. "These big concerns are offering all sorts of attractions to the shopping public which we couldn't afford to imitate, even on a small scale -- reading-rooms and play-rooms and gramophones and Heaven knows what. People don't care to buy half a pound of sugar nowadays unless they can listen to Harry Lauder and have the latest Australian cricket scores ticked off before their eyes.
What happens next is really funny. This might be the funniest of his stories I have read so far. I do not want to spoil any of the story for you. The ending is a very well done surprise.
"Quail Seed" can be read online. Give Saki a chance and he just might get to be a habit.
If anyone has any suggestions as to short stories I can read online, please leave a comment.