Today is the 124th death anniversary of Guy de Maupassant, arguably one of the greatest short story writers on the world literary scene who influenced the other writers like O Henry, W.Somerset Maugham, Anton Chekhov and many others.He alongside Emile Zola belongs to the Naturalist School of writing and holds sway even today.
His most important short story is The Necklace which I have discussed in one of my earlier posts.The next important short story is THE PIECE OF STRING.
The story revolves round Maître Hauchecome of Breaute, an old man.He is a person who believes that nothing that can be used should go waste.
One ominous day, which is a market day at Goderville , people gather from surrounding places to sell and buy wares.Hauchecome eyes a piece of string on the road side and picks it up as a matter of habit.Becoming conscious that Maitre Malendain, inimical towards him has seen him picking the piece of string ,to hide his embarrassment , pretends looking for something on the roadside which is simply not there.During day time amid all the hustle and bustle that one associates with a market place, the loss of a leather pocket book belonging to one Maitre Houlbreque of Mannerville in the morning is announced. After sometime a person comes looking for Maître Houchecome and on finding him takes him to the Mayor who had sent for him.The Mayor rebukes and reprimands him,accusing him of the theft of the pocketbook.Houchecome,taken aback pleads innocence and offers to have his person searched but nothing is found in his possession except the piece of string. All this has happened on the basis of the false complaint made by Maître Malendaine, his enemy. Even when the next day the pocket book along with its contents is found on the roadside by one Marius Paumelle and restored to Houlbreque, people are not ready to believe Hauchecome and his plea of innocence.No explicit reason has been given by the writer as to what type of person Houchecome is that none of the persons,his friends included, trust him to absolve him of the charge, which makes him all the more pitiable.This branding of him as a thief despite his innocence, proves too much for him and soon he dies dejected and disappointed murmuring -the piece of string, Monsieur ! the piece of string. .
The underlying pathos of the story makes it amazing.
Our humble tributes to the great storyteller !