The Empty House

The Empty House

“Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil. In the case of the latter, no particular feature need betray them; they may boast an open countenance and an ingenuous smile; and yet a little of their company leaves the unalterable conviction that there is something radically amiss with their being: that they are evil.”

The Unruly Sprite

The Unruly Sprite

“There was once a man who was also a writer of books. The merit of his books lies beyond the horizon of this tale. No doubt some of them were good, and some of them were bad, and some were merely popular.”

Van Dyke was a friend of Helen Keller. Keller wrote: “Dr. van Dyke is the kind of a friend to have when one is up against a difficult problem. He will take trouble, days and nights of trouble, if it is for somebody else or for some cause he is interested in.

A Matter of Magnitude

A Matter of Magnitude

“When you’re commanding a spaceship over a mile long, and armed to the teeth, you don’t exactly expect to be told to get the hell out …”

This is an ensemble recording from the bridge of Earth’s most powerful space cruiser.

A Piece of Steak

A Piece of Steak

“It was the iron law of the game. One man might have a hundred hard fights in him, another man only twenty; each, according to the make of him and the quality of his fibre, had a definite number, and, when he had fought them, he was done.”

The story deals with Tom King, a boxer who is at the very end of his career. Once a great star who spent money freely and generously on himself and others, he is now so poor that the local merchants will not even loan him enough money for a piece of steak. Before his fight against a rising star, Sandel, he eats only bread and gravy and must send his wife and children to bed without food.

Briar Rose

Briar Rose

“Just as eleven of them had done blessing her, a great noise was heard…”

Within the castle lies a beautiful princess who is doomed to sleep for a hundred years until a king’s son comes and awakens her. The prince then braves the tall trees, brambles and thorns which part at his approach, and enters the castle. He passes the sleeping castle folk and comes across the chamber where the Princess lies asleep on the bed.

The Jumping-Frog of Calaveras County

The Jumping-Frog of Calaveras County

“And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like, ‘It might be a parrot, or it might be a canary, maybe, but it ain’t–it’s only just a frog.’”

The narrator is sent by a friend to interview an old man, Simon Wheeler, who might know the location of an old acquaintance named Leonidas W. Smiley. Finding Simon at an old mining camp, the narrator asks him if he knows anything about Leonidas; Simon appears not to, and instead tells a story about Jim Smiley, a man who had visited the camp years earlier.