Short Story #203: The Man with Two Lives by Ambrose Bierce

Title: The Man with Two Lives

Author: Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose BierceDavid Duck was travelling between camps at night in an area where tensions were high between soldiers and Indians.  He believed he found a reasonable place to hide for a while and sleep but he is awoke by and chased away by gunshots from Indians.  Eventually, they chase him into a corner and he holes up for several days but lack of food, water, and sleep lead him into one final attack.  He awakes later and makes his way back to camp and checks in with the doctor.  The doctor is confused by his appearance and whom he claims to be since the doctor had buried David Duck some time prior.  Duck is unable to explain this and the major puts him in holding.  Duck eventually escapes but continually returns to the spot where he might have died.


The story is mildly amusing as it is told through the eyes of Duck but it doesn't have a lot of substance to it since it is over nearly before it begins.  A tale such as this could have been much more developed and drawn out, but this one races so fast that it misses the opportunity to linger in the mind of Duck to understand the experience.  

Short Story #203 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/21/2014
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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