Short Story #328: The Baptism of Dobsho by Ambrose Bierce

Title: The Baptism of Dobsho

Author: Ambrose Bierce


Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

The narrator explains that in youth, we often play jokes that we find tasteless in later years.  He is no less guilty.  He shares about his younger days in the town of Harding when a revival of "Rampageanism" was rampant and his friend Thomas Dobsho had been swept up in the excitement.  Deciding that he couldn't stand to see his friend fall for it, the narrator decides to take matters into his own hands.  First, he goes to the reverend leading the revival.  He explains that he isn't there to convince him not to baptize Dobsho but to make sure he covers him in water because Dobsho might need some extra convincing unless he slides back into wicked ways.  The reverend agrees to do so.  On the day of the baptism, the narrator helps to prepare Dobsho and does everything he can to distract him while getting him ready.  They arrive at the event early and are first in line to be baptized.  When the reverend starts, he looks to the narrator in agreement and dumps the entirely bowl of water onto Dobsho.  The result shocks Dobsho and the other people waiting to be baptized as his hair sizzles and pops.  The narrator reveals that he had slipped seltzer powder into Dobsho's hair.  The reverend tells all that the narrator is responsible for what has occurred and throws the bowl at the narrator's head wherein the bowl breaks.  


This was one of my favorite tales of the whole collection.  I actually laughed out loud when he explained that it was seltzer powder in Dobsho's hair.  

Short Story #328 out of 365
Rating: 4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 11/01/2014
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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