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Short Stories

The Rejected Sorcerer by Jorge Luis Borges

Vocabulary:

Bid (v.) – Her boss bade her to wash the floor and clean-up the table before he came back.

Motive (n.) – John knew that he couldn’t obtain Tina’s love so his motive was to kill his love and commit suicide afterward.

*Disclose (v.) – The reason that he disclosed her true color was he couldn’t continue to protect her.

Instruct (v.) – Teachers instructed us: “Don’t steal stuff from the other students!”

Divine (v.) – The wizard divined that in 2012, the Earth will be destroyed.

Adjoining (adj.) – My mom and her friends lived in an adjoining room beside me and my sister.

Preferable (adj.) – He found another idea and it was preferable to the first one.

Cardinal (adj.) – This speech was very cardinal in my life because it taught me how to survive through my suffering.

Subterranean (adj.) – In this deep subterranean cell, a doctor was proceeding with the most dangerous experiment.

Ashamed (adj.) – He was ashamed of his ingratitude and tried to apologize for not saying “thanks” last night.

Sufficient (adj.) – She had sufficient bravery to come up against her suffering.

Summary:

This story, The Rejected Sorcerer, was about a dean who wanted to learn magic. He found that Don Illan was a magician, thus he visited him and asked to be taught magic. But, Don Illan feared that afterward the dean would forget him. In response, the dean promised that he wouldn’t neglect Don Illan. The sorcerer then took him to an adjoining room and led the dean to a deep subterranean cell. Before descending, Don Illan had told a servant girl to prepare a meal and announced that she should not to cook it until he requested. After a few days, the dean received a letter from his uncle, the bishop, who was about to die. The dean was annoyed, but he couldn’t leave, so he decided not to see his uncle. A few days later, his uncle died and everybody elected the dean to be the next bishop. Later, he obtained a letter from the Pope, who was offering him the archbishopric. When Don Illan heard about this he requested that his son be made the bishop. The archbishop said no, that he had reserved the bishopric for his own uncle. After three years, the archbishop received a message from the Pope who was offering him a cardinalship. When Don Illan heard of this, he requested the archbishopric for his son. The new cardinal said he needed to give it to his mother’s brother. Four years later, the Pope died and the cardinal became the Pope. Don Illan heard this and requested the cardianlship for his son. But, the Pope still said no. At this time, Don Illan was unhappy and he asked for something to eat on the road back to Spain. However, the Pope shouted at him and bade him to leave. Then Don Illan’s face became younger at this moment and he told the servant girl to cook the meal that she had prepared earlier. The dean realized that they were still in the deep subterranean cell, they had gone back to the beginning, and that he was still the dean! Don Illan had rejected the dean as a student of magic.

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The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick

Character list:

Ed Loyce – a TV sales and service shop owner, he discovered a dead body of stranger hanging from a lamppost.

Don Fergusson – a salesman from the TV store.

Jack Potter – a man who works in a shoe shop.

Jenkins – Loyce’s friend, a stationery clerk.

Margaret Henderson – a jewelry store worker.

Pete Foley – a television repairman.

Stranger A, on a bus – a slender man, with dark hair and a small mustache. Well – dressed, brown suit and shiny shoes.

Stranger B, on the bus – an elderly man with a box.

Janet Loyce – Ed Loyce’s wife.

Tommy & Jim – Mrs. and Mr Loyce’s twin sons.

The Police Commissioner of Oak Grove – explains to Loyce what happens for all the weird events.

Clarence Mason, a banker in Oak Grove – he encounters the same situation as Ed Loyce.

Setting:
The towns of Pikeville and Oak Grove (both town-names are located in the following states: Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee),

Summary:

This short story is about a man, Ed Loyce, a TV sales store owner. One day, he repaired the foundations of his basement. He distinctly saw a man was hanging from the lamppost when he drove his car to work. He was shock and scared, due to he called out the people from the store. But all the people excepted him, didn’t care and had no emotion for seeing this scene. Ed knew something wrong, something weird in this world. The polices came and asked him a few personal questions but they didn’t ask or care about the hanging man. He realized they weren’t the police, he knew every cop in Pikeville and the strange part was the people didn’t care. Ed followed the men doubtfully then he came to the police station and beyond it was the old fashion City Hall. Suddenly, he heard the sound like bees’ swarming.  He was seeing “them”. He felt really tired and reeled. He couldn’t think. What was that? He wanted to go home then he boarded the bus and took a seat in the rear, by the door. He relaxed a little. Unexpectedly, there was a slender man, with dark hair and a small mustache. He was watching Loyce and studying him and then the other ederly man is staring him too. He instantly ran to the emergency door and left the bus. He ran across the street and into the alley. The two men ran right after him and Ed quickly ran to his house. He closed the door immediately and told her wife, Janet Loyce, to close the window. He brought his family escaped from this crazy town by car. After a long time, he saw a gasoline station and a drive-in.


The Victim from Space by Robert Sheckley

The Victim from Space by Robert Sheckley first published in Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1957.

Vocabulary:

1. Eminent (adj.) – high in station, rank, or reputation

Justin Beiber is an eminent pop singer, he is very popular.

2. orbit (v.) – to go or travel in a curved path around a planet or other object

The moon orbits the earth in about 27 days.

3. enigma (n.) – a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence or situation

A scuba-diver who is found dead in a tree in a desert is an enigma. How did he die? Where is the water that drowned him? And how did he get in the tree?

4. ecstatic (adj.) – very happy, excited

I was ecstatic when the summer break began.

5. ecstasy (n.) – an intense feeling of happiness

When you won the lottery, you felt ecstasy!

6. counterfeit (adj.) – fake, not real

If you have counterfeit money you can buy nothing because it is fake!

7. extraterrestrial (n.) – alien

The extraterrestrials wanted to attack the earth because they wanted our planet.

8. deplorable (adj.) – awful, terrible

This place was deplorable, before I cleaned it up,  too many people threw trash everywhere.

9. ferment (v.) – changing from sugars into alcohol

The grape juice will ferment into wine.

10. libation (n.) – a ceremonial drink, usually alcohol

They had a libation after the funeral of their friend, they drank wine.

Character list:

Richard Hadwell – he is a writer from Earth who visits Igathi (an alien planet). He loves an Igathi woman called Mele.

Kataga – he is an Igathian, he has a daughter named Mele. He deserves to obtain the Ultimate. He falls in the river and Hadwell saves him. He is friends with Hadwell.

Mele – she is a tall, slender and beautiful girl, she loves Hadwell. She marries Hadwell and she goes with him to Earth.

Brog – he is a dull-faced youth of no significance, he is killed by Lag.

Lag – a priest, tall, emaciated old man, he has large authority on this alien planet. He renders the Ultimate to the one who responds and contributes.

Vassi – a merchant, who wants the reward too.

Juele – a priest-in-training.

Tgara – a stone cutter.

Iglai – a farmer.

The Victim from Space, by Robert Sheckley, is about a man, Richard Hadwell helps the Igathians. Hadwell is a traveller. He travels through many places and he thinks all the planets that he has visited suck except for Igathi. He meets the Igathians and he loves a woman from Igathi called Mele. On this planet, the Igathians have a different culture than that of the Earth people. The Igathians think suffering death is really attractive, so everyone on Igathi wants to earn a painful death.

Because Hadwell loves Mele, he stays on Igathi and starts to teach the Igathians how to grow food crops, produce metal-works and other skills too numerous to mention. So, Lag, the Igathian priest, really thanks him and he wants to give him “the Ultimate”. The Ultimate being a violent and painful death!

Hadwell’s execution is to take place directly after his and Mele’s wedding. On their wedding day, suddenly, Hadwell sees Mele’s father, Kataga, fall into the river and he saves him. The Igathians see Hadwell save Kataga and they feel that Hadwell has done a terrible and inhuman thing by rescuing poor Kataga from the river. After this Lag doesn’t want to give Hadwell the painful death ceremony. After that, Hadwell is really frustrated so he wants to leave. He brings Mele to his spaceship and they leave Igathi. In the end, Mele fingers a tiny dagger which is to be used when there is no priest around.  She thinks one day she can give him the most precious thing a woman can give to a man. “A painful death!”