Short Story #120: The Venus of Braniza by Guy De Maupassant

Title:  The Venus of Braniza

Author:  Guy De Maupassant


Great French Short Stories edited by M. E. Speare.  The World Publishing Company, 1943
The story introduces us to the Talmudist of Braniza, a highly celebrated and knowledgeable man who happens to have the most beautiful wife in the city.  The narrator explains that this is rare because typically, God hands out ugly brides to religiously faithful people because God knows they will take what he gives them.  One evening, the wife asks him when the Messiah will come and the husband explains that the Messiah will come when all Jewish people are entirely virtuous or entirely vicious.  The wife asks does he believe if the Jewish people will ever be entirely virtuous to which he scoffs at the idea.  A short time later, the husband goes away and when he returns he finds his wife with the Captain of the Hussars.  When he confronts her, she shows no shame and merely explains that she was just doing her part to help bring in the Messiah.


A short but fun tale from Maupassant.  I’m more familiar with his horror tales but even this one has a good deal of bite to it.  Less than the infidelity, I found it fascinating the theological challenge presented by the story in that the religious leaders are equally important in how they perceive and present the word of their God can create unforeseen consequences.  Equally interesting is the idea that the viewpoint (pessimistic) of a religious leader does manifest and spread among the followers.

Short Story #120 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  4/20/2014
Source:  Great French Short Stories edited by M. E. Speare.  The World Publishing Company, 1943.  This short story can be found on this link to the Gutenberg Project.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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