On the River by Guy de Maupassant (1880s)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror January 14, 2014
Have you ever shivered inside your bed, frightened to look at the hooked shadows in the corner of your bedroom? Or tremble when the cracking sound of footsteps come in from the doorway? You might imagine some phantom hovering. Take that lonely night fear of the unknown and bring it with you On the River.
Here you are alone in a twelve-foot boat, far out on the river Seine in the gloom of moonlight. Just you. A sudden mass of reeds close in to blur your sight. A river might be considered the most sinister of cemeteries since so much can be buried at the bottom of its slow and murky movements.
Our narrator in On the River is a worthy boatman, floating on the lovely Seine, enjoying a smoke of his pipe, a bit of rum, and a gentle breeze. A silent peaceful night, if you will. When his boat suddenly lurches, he’s puzzled at first. But when the boat’s anchor snags on something much too heavy for him to shake loose, and he’s trapped within the reeds without another soul around to help, panic becomes him.
De Maupassant writes a very atmospheric tale with psychological dimensions, and a clarity of fear all wrapped up in soft horror. I doubt you’ll be able to stop reading this one. As with many De Maupassant short stories (he wrote 300), some are tales of terror like Two Friends, Fear, The Hand, Apparition, The Dead Girl, to name a few. He is an author who brings his readers deeply into the scene and the guts of a story. On the River is a spooky tale that sails you out … into phantasmagoria.
Read On the River at Online Literature
Watch the adapted film by Roman Sidorenko on You Tube
Other Reading Web Sites to Visit
For Authors/Writers: The Writer Unboxed