Word Counts of Famous Short Stories (organized)

Shamelessly cribbed from Classic Short Stories and re-organized by word count from shortest to longest for comparison purposes. We’re discussing short stories with the Indy NaNoWriMo group this afternoon, and I thought it might help to have a word count chart similar to the one I did for Famous Novels back in November.

Of the 161 stories listed, 3081 is the median word count (number in the middle) and 4052 is the average word count. Duotrope (a free writers’ resource listing over 3950 current fiction and poetry publications) caps their search for short story publishers at 7,500 words, which means most publishers are looking for stories of less than that length.

Words: 710 – Virginia Woolf – A Haunted House
Words: 762 – Fielding Dawson – The Vertical Fields
Words: 810 – Mark Twain – A Telephonic Conversation
Words: 994 – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One of These Days
Words: 1274 – Saki (H H Munro) – The Open Window
Words: 1354 – Guy de Maupassant – The Kiss
Words: 1377 – Saki (H H Munro) – Mrs Packletide’s Tiger
Words: 1411 – Guy de Maupassant – A Dead Woman’s Secret
Words: 1429 – Guy de Maupassant – Indiscretion
Words: 1464 – Guy de Maupassant – Moonlight
Words: 1472 – Guy de Maupassant – Coco
Words: 1503 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – A Slander
Words: 1520 – Saki (H H Munro) – The Mouse
Words: 1552 – Guy de Maupassant – Yvette
Words: 1564 – William Carlos Williams – The Use of Force
Words: 1618 – Liam O’Flaherty – The Sniper
Words: 1624 – Guy de Maupassant – Farewell
Words: 1657 – Guy de Maupassant – Friend Patience
Words: 1691 – Guy de Maupassant – The Drunkard
Words: 1720 – Guy de Maupassant – The Christening
Words: 1764 – Guy de Maupassant – A Vendetta
Words: 1797 – Mark Twain – Luck
Words: 1830 – Saki (H H Munro) – Sredni Vashtar
Words: 1831 – Ambrose Bierce – The Boarded Window
Words: 1857 – Guy de Maupassant – Bellflower
Words: 1862 – Guy de Maupassant – In the Wood
Words: 1870 – Guy de Maupassant – The Dowry
Words: 1896 – Guy de Maupassant – The Unknown
Words: 1914 – Guy de Maupassant – A Family
Words: 1921 – Guy de Maupassant – Misti–Recollections of a Bachelor
Words: 1944 – Guy de Maupassant – Confessing
Words: 1978 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – The Lottery Ticket
Words: 2023 – Guy de Maupassant – A Humble Drama
Words: 2071 – Guy de Maupassant – Two Little Soldiers
Words: 2073 – E B White – The Door
Words: 2083 – Guy de Maupassant – Humiliation
Words: 2093 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Tell-Tale Heart
Words: 2098 – Rudyard Kipling – How the Leopard Got His Spots
Words: 2098 – Guy de Maupassant – The Hand
Words: 2106 – Guy de Maupassant – Old Mongilet
Words: 2109 – Saki (H H Munro) – The Storyteller (Saki)
Words: 2112 – Patrick Waddington – The Street That Got Mislaid
Words: 2149 – Mark Twain – A Burlesque Biography
Words: 2163 – O Henry – The Gift of the Magi
Words: 2208 – Guy de Maupassant – The Hairpin
Words: 2256 – O Henry – The Whirligig of Life
Words: 2284 – Guy de Maupassant – Denis
Words: 2350 – Mark Twain – Italian without a Master
Words: 2383 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Masque of the Red Death
Words: 2384 – Herman Melville – The Fiddler
Words: 2385 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – A Day in the Country
Words: 2385 – Guy de Maupassant – Waiter
Words: 2399 – James Joyce – Araby
Words: 2414 – O Henry – The Princess and the Puma
Words: 2421 – Dorothy Parker – A Telephone Call
Words: 2434 – Guy de Maupassant – Madame Parisse
Words: 2457 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Imp of the Perverse
Words: 2479 – Guy de Maupassant – Timbuctoo
Words: 2495 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Cask of Amontillado
Words: 2500 – O Henry – The Last Leaf
Words: 2530 – Guy de Maupassant – The Piece of String
Words: 2543 – Ambrose Bierce – A Horseman in the Sky
Words: 2544 – Rudyard Kipling – The Elephant’s Child
Words: 2555 – O Henry – The Coming-Out of Maggie
Words: 2623 – Mark Twain – Italian with Grammar
Words: 2631 – Mark Twain – The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Words: 2637 – Guy de Maupassant – Theodule Sabot’s Confession
Words: 2649 – James Joyce – Clay
Words: 2652 – Guy de Maupassant – The Marquis de Fumerol
Words: 2720 – Herman Melville – The Lightning-Rod Man
Words: 2731 – Guy de Maupassant – The Devil
Words: 2747 – Frank Stockton – The Lady or the Tiger?
Words: 2768 – Guy de Maupassant – Julie Romain
Words: 2797 – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Eyes of a Blue Dog
Words: 2811 – Edgar Allan Poe – Von Kempelen and His Discovery
Words: 2871 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – The Bet
Words: 2901 – Evan Hunter – The Last Spin
Words: 2989 – Guy de Maupassant – The Donkey
Words: 3016 – Dylan Thomas – A Child’s Christmas in Wales
Words: 3056 – Guy de Maupassant – Toine
Words: 3081 – Guy de Maupassant – The Father
Words: 3091 – Guy de Maupassant – The Necklace
Words: 3159 – Guy de Maupassant – A Coward
Words: 3208 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Wedding-Knell
Words: 3211 – Irwin Shaw – The Girls in Their Summer Dresses
Words: 3283 – George Orwell – Shooting an Elephant
Words: 3343 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Ambitious Guest
Words: 3400 – Graham Greene – The End of the Party
Words: 3448 – Ambrose Bierce – Beyond the Wall
Words: 3620 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar
Words: 3624 – Bret Harte – Tennessee’s Partner
Words: 3642 – Guy de Maupassant – An Affair of State
Words: 3690 – Paul Bowles – In the Red Room
Words: 3772 – Charles Dickens – The Baron of Grogzwig
Words: 3773 – Shirley Jackson – The Lottery
Words: 3801 – George Saunders – The Falls
Words: 3804 – Ambrose Bierce – An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Words: 3878 – Edgar Allan Poe – 7 Mesmeric Revelation
Words: 3899 – Roald Dahl – Lamb to the Slaughter
Words: 3998 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Black Cat
Words: 4058 – Guy de Maupassant – The Wreck
Words: 4134 – W W Jacobs – The Monkey’s Paw
Words: 4190 – Bret Harte – The Luck of Roaring Camp
Words: 4279 – Guy de Maupassant – That Pig of a Morin
Words: 4309 – Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Eva Is Inside Her Cat
Words: 4356 – Charles Dickens – The Poor Relation’s Story
Words: 4372 – O Henry – The Ransom of Red Chief
Words: 4490 – Guy de Maupassant – A Vagabond
Words: 4492 – James O’Keefe – Death Makes a Comeback
Words: 4618 – Guy de Maupassant – Mademoiselle Fifi
Words: 4625 – Roald Dahl – Man From the South
Words: 4722 – Katherine Mansfield – The Stranger
Words: 5028 – Anton Pavlovich Checkhov – The Darling
Words: 5046 – Ring Lardner – Haircut
Words: 5072 – Roald Dahl – Beware of the Dog
Words: 5114 – Guy de Maupassant – The Inn
Words: 5215 – James Joyce – A Little Cloud
Words: 5231 – Stuart Cloete – The Soldier’s Peaches
Words: 5285 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Minister’s Black Veil
Words: 5387 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – Young Goodman Brown
Words: 5505 – George Orwell – Politics and the English Language
Words: 5547 – Jesse Stuart – Split Cherry Tree
Words: 5557 – Katherine Mansfield – The Garden Party
Words: 5565 – Honore de Balzac – A Passion in the Desert
Words: 5637 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Premature Burial
Words: 5672 – O Henry – A Blackjack Bargainer
Words: 5703 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Great Carbuncle
Words: 5704 – Bret Harte – How Santa Claus Came to Simpson’s Bar
Words: 5707 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Thousand-And-Second Tale of Scheherazade
Words: 5751 – Guy de Maupassant – Mademoiselle Pearl
Words: 5896 – Rudyard Kipling – Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from The Jungle Book
Words: 5952 – Tobias Wolff – Hunters in the Snow
Words: 6015 – D H Lawrence – The Rocking-Horse Winner
Words: 6078 – Frank Stockton – The Griffin and the Minor Canon
Words: 6155 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Pit and the Pendulum
Words: 6366 – Ambrose Flack – The Strangers That Came to Town
Words: 6758 – Ring Lardner – The Golden Honeymoon
Words: 6776 – Guy de Maupassant – Useless Beauty
Words: 6815 – Robert Louis Stevenson – Markheim
Words: 6826 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – Ethan Brand
Words: 6934 – Washington Irving – Rip Van Winkle (A Posthumous Writing of Diedrich Knickerbocker)
Words: 7053 – H G Wells – The Door in the Wall
Words: 7120 – Henry Van Dyke – The First Christmas Tree
Words: 7176 – Jack London – To Build a Fire
Words: 7178 – Mark Twain – Was it Heaven? Or Hell?
Words: 7181 – Edgar Allan Poe – A Descent Into the Maelstrom
Words: 7226 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Fall of the House of Usher
Words: 7396 – Edgar Allan Poe – The Purloined Letter
Words: 7419 – Thomas Bailey Aldrich – Marjorie Daw
Words: 7446 – Richard Harding Davis – The Consul
Words: 7805 – Jack London – A Piece of Steak
Words: 7876 – Guy de Maupassant – Miss Harriet
Words: 8080 – Mark Twain – The Private History of a Campaign That Failed
Words: 8426 – Richard Connell – The Most Dangerous Game
Words: 8881 – Carl Stephenson – Leiningen versus the Ants
Words: 8970 – Willa Cather – Paul’s Case
Words: 9601 – Thomas Nelson Page – The Burial of the Guns
Words: 10669 – Edith Wharton – Souls Belated
Words: 11870 – Edith Wharton – Afterward
Words: 12261 – Nathaniel Hawthorne – Rappaccini’s Daughter
Words: 33015 – H G Wells – The Time Machine

Continue ReadingWord Counts of Famous Short Stories (organized)

Cheese, Peas and Chocolate Pudding

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Original publication “Cheese, Peas and Chocolate Pudding”, by Betty Van Witsen, Humpty Dumpty’s Magazine, Copyright 1955, Bank Street College of Education. Subsequently published in Believe and Make-Believe (Sheldon Basic Reading Series)

When I was in second grade, the following story was in my school reader, (which I’ve since discovered was called “Believe and Make-Believe (Sheldon Basic Reading Series)“) and I remember sitting with my mom at home listening to her read it out loud before bedtime. It was one of my favorite stories, and I was happy to stumble across it again out there on the internets. The credit I found was to “Caroline Feller Bauer” but I’ve since discovered (see comments below) that it was written by Betty Van Witsen.

There was once a little boy who ate cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Every day he ate the same thing: cheese, peas and chocolate pudding.

For breakfast, he would have some cheese, any kind: cream cheese, American cheese, Swiss cheese, Dutch cheese, Italian cheese, cottage cheese, bleu cheese, green cheese, yellow cheese, even leiderkrantz. Just cheese for breakfast.

For lunch, he ate peas: green or yellow peas, frozen peas, canned peas, dried peas, split peas, black-eyed peas. No potatoes, though; just peas for lunch.

And for supper he would have cheese and peas and chocolate pudding for dessert. Cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Every day, the same old thing: cheese, peas and chocolate pudding.

Once, his mother bought him a lamb chop. She cooked it in a little frying pan on the stove, and she put some salt on it and gave it to him on a little blue dish. The little boy looked at it. He smelled it (it smelled delicious!). He even touched it. but — “Is this cheese?” he asked. “It’s a lamb chop darling,” said his mother. The boy shook his head. “Cheese,” he said. So his mother ate the lamb chop herself, and the boy had some cottage cheese.

One day, his big brother was chewing on a raw carrot. It sounded so good and crunchy, the little boy reached his hand out for a bite. “Sure!” his brother said, “Here!” He almost put the carrot into his mouth, but at the last minute he remembered and asked, “Is this peas?” “No, it’s a carrot,” said his brother, “Peas”, the little boy said firmly, handing the carrot back.

Once his daddy was eating a big dish of raspberry pudding, It looked so shiny red and cool, the little boy came over and held his mouth open. “Want a taste?” asked his daddy. The little boy looked and looked at the raspberry pudding. He almost looked it right off the dish. “But, is it chocolate pudding?” he asked. “No, it’s raspberry pudding,” said his daddy. So the little boy frowned and backed away. “Chocolate pudding!” he said.
His grandma bought him an ice cream cone. The little boy shook his head. His aunt and uncle invited him for a fried chicken dinner. Everybody ate fried chicken and fried chicken and fried chicken, except the little boy. And you know what he ate. Cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Cheese, peas and chocolate pudding. Every day the same old thing: cheese, peas and chocolate pudding.

But one day — ah, one day a very funny thing happened. The little boy was pretending to be a puppy. He lay on the floor and growled and barked and rolled over. He crept to the table where his big brother was having lunch. “Arf, arf!” he barked. “Good Doggie!” said his brother, patting his head. The little boy lay down on his back and barked again. But at that moment, his big brother dropped a piece of something right into the little boy’s mouth. The little boy sat up in surprise because something was on his tongue. And that something was warm and juicy and delicious!

And it didn’t taste like cheese. And it didn’t taste like peas. And it didn’t taste a bit like chocolate pudding. The little boy chewed slowly. Each chew tasted better. He swallowed the something.

“That’s not cheese,” he said. “No, it’s not,” said his brother. “And it’s not peas,” he said. “No, not peas,” said his brother. “It couldn’t be chocolate pudding.” “No, it’s certainly not chocolate pudding,” said his brother, smiling, “It’s hamburger.”

So the little boy thought very hard. “I like hamburger!” he said.

So ever after that, the little boy ate cheese, peas, chocolate pudding and hamburger.
Until he was your age, of course. Then he ate everything!

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