An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce (1890)
Tuesday’s Tale of Mystery August 7, 2018
‘A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man’s hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. A rope closely encircled his neck.’
What greater opening of a story is more compelling than an execution? Not much, and this mystery will hold you all the way through to the last lines. The time is Civil War era. Our character, a young man named Peyton Farquhar is about to be hanged. What goes through a condemned man’s mind in the moments before he knows his life will end? Is it possible Peyton could escape and return to his wife and child?
Author Ambrose Bierce is at his finest writing as this story is rich with symbolism and foreshadowing and not without its twists. The imagery is high quality in a tale well told.
What is your take on the ending? Were you shocked? Please feel free to comment!
Read the short story at AmericanLiterature.com:
Listen to the audio by Librivox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lgCO_l-pgQ
Watch the YOUTUBE film (23 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHqnSX4SJ_A
Ambrose Bierce was an American journalist, satirist, and short story writer, many stories about death. He is famous for his The Devil’s Dictionary. He disappeared in Mexico in 1914 and his final fate is recorded as “unknown.”
You can find more of his short stories here at Reading Ficiton Blog in the INDEX under Ambrose Bierce.
Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, and mainstream fiction.
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