Short Story #177: Present at a Hanging by Ambrose Bierce

Title:  Present at a Hanging

Author:  Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceThe story begins by explaining that a peddler had disappeared years ago after visiting old man Baker, a recluse of the area.  Such disappearances were not uncommon to peddlers who if successful would have lots of money on them.  Years later, a reverend is walking along a path in the area and comes upon a bridge where he meets peddler.  He offers a ride but the peddler does not respond.  Meanwhile, the horse grows restless.  When the reverend looks away and then back, the man has disappeared.  The horse takes off at this point and eventually the reverend regains control.  He returns home and the next day, he brings friends to investigate.  They find Baker hanging from bridge and on the ground under his body is the buried bones of the peddler.  


Not much of a story--it was less than two pages which makes me wonder if it qualifies.  I do find that curious--a 2 page story and wish the anthology had more information about the publication of such stories.  Was it published?  Where?  It appears to be a filler story like those in comics and such.  

Short Story #177 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  6/21/2014
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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