Three Tales (Flaubert)

Three Tales (Flaubert)

Three Tales (Flaubert)

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Three Tales (Trois Contes) is a work by Gustave Flaubert that was originally published in French in 1877. It consists of the short stories "A Simple Heart", "Saint Julian" and "Hérodias". "Dance of Death" is another story sometimes grouped with "Simple Heart" and "Saint Julian" as Three Short Works.

A Simple Heart

"A Simple Heart", also called Un cœur simple or Le perroquet in French, is a story about a servant girl named Felicité. After her one and only love Théodore marries a well-to-do woman to avoid conscription, Felicité quits the farm she works on and heads for Pont-l'Évèque where she immediately picks up work in a widow's house as a servant. She is very loyal, and easily lends her affections to the two children of her mistress, Mme Aubain. She gives entirely to others, and although many take advantage of her she is unaffected. She is the epitome of a selfless character, and Flaubert shows how true altruism – the reality of being truly selfless – is the reward in itself. Whatever comes her way she is able to deal with it.

She has no husband, no children, and no property, and is reliant on her mistress to keep her; she is uneducated bar her visits to the Church; her death is virtually unnoticed. Despite her life being seemingly pointless, she has within her the power to love, which she does even when she does not receive it in return. She also carries within her a yearning, a majestic...
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