A Normandy Joke (Maupassant)

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A Normandy Joke
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A newlywed husband left his wife on their wedding night to confront poachers on his land, only to be captured, humiliated, and left tied up by the pranksters.

In a small village in Normandy, a wedding procession made its way through the countryside. The bride, Rosalie Roussel, had chosen to marry Jean Patu, a wealthy farmer and an avid sportsman.

Jean Patu — newlywed husband; rich farmer; passionate sportsman; easily angered.
Rosalie Roussel — newlywed wife; prepossessing; chose her husband for his wealth.

As the procession entered the farm, shots were fired in celebration, and the guests enjoyed a lavish feast that lasted well into the evening.

As the night wore on, the guests became increasingly intoxicated and boisterous, with many making crude jokes about the couple's wedding night. Four young men in particular seemed to be planning a prank on the newlyweds. Eventually, the couple retired to their room, eager to consummate their marriage. However, just as they were about to do so, a gunshot rang out in the distance.

I only say: just let them come!

Jean, furious at the thought of poachers on his land, grabbed his gun and went to investigate, despite his wife's pleas for him to stay.

Do leave them alone; it has nothing to do with you. Come to bed.

Hours passed, and when Jean did not return, his wife became frantic and sent the farmhands out to search for him.

They eventually found Jean tied up and humiliated, with his gun broken and three dead hares hanging around his neck. A placard on his chest read, "Who goes on the chase, loses his place." Despite the prank, Jean later admitted that it was a good joke, but vowed to get his revenge on those responsible.