Short Story #166: The Applicant by Ambrose Bierce

Title:  The Applicant

Author:  Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceThe story begins with a boy tripping over something in the snow.  The narrator explains that in order to explain what that thing is, he has to explain the backdrop to the Aberush Home for Old Men, a house created by a philanthropist who left his wealth to the house's upkeep and left the town.  The running of this home was left to trustees and a superintendent but the level of care and cost did not compare to how it should have been run.  An old man approached the home on Christmas Eve asking for a place to stay.  The superintendent, Mr. Tilbody talks with the man and explains that the Board of Trustees found that allowing the man to be admitted would not be very good for the reputation of the Home.  Understanding that he won't be admitted, he leaves and it is his body that the boy trips over in the morning.  He is also, Aberush, the man who built the home.  


Overall, a good story though the issue around the finances of the home and who, the superintendent or the Board, was playing fast and loose was a bit unclear.  I figured it would be a body that the boy tripped over but I had at some point wondered if it would be Tilbody's as he was refusing the old man admission.  

Short Story #166 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  6/12/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on

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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