I really loved this one. I mean more than usual. But I always think that. Every story, I think, “I love this one more than usual.” This one is:
by Anton Chekhov
A prosecutor comes home to be told by the governess that his 7-year-old son has been caught smoking–twice–tobacco the child took from his father’s desk. The man agrees to speak to the boy immediately.
The boy seems more like two than seven to me, but maybe children in 1887 were more infantile than they are now. I wouldn’t be surprised.
At any rate, the man, who is a powerful and effective advocate with adults, finds himself unable to communicate forcefully at home, with his son whom he loves. His love and his memories of his own childhood short-circuit his capacity for sternness and retribution.
It isn’t until he falls into telling a bedtime story that he makes the desired impact.
I probably loved this story because it emphasized, more than once, the terrible power of the storyteller.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: A usually firm character has trouble being firm with somebody.