Father Judas (Maupassant)

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Father Judas
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man visited a desolate area and met an old boatman who told him the story of a mysterious beggar believed to be the Wandering Jew, who met a gruesome end.

In a desolate district marked by religious grandeur, there was a vast wild tarn surrounded by bare hills. A solitary house stood on the banks of this gloomy lake, inhabited by an old boatman named Father Joseph. One day, a visitor came to see Father Joseph, who offered to show him his fishing nets.

The Narrator — visitor to the desolate area; curious and imaginative.
Father Joseph — old boatman; thin, bony, with a white beard; quiet and superstitious.

As they rowed across the lake, the visitor noticed a ruined hovel with a huge red cross on its wall. Father Joseph explained that it was where Judas, the Wandering Jew, had died.

That is where Judas died.

Father Joseph told the story of how a tall woman, known as "the Jewess," had once lived in the hovel.

The Beggar Woman — tall woman; lived with Father Judas; suspected to be a Jewess; never seen at church.

One day, an ancient man with a white beard came to her door, asking for alms. The woman took him in, and he never left her side. The man was always walking, and the locals began to suspect that he was the Wandering Jew. Neither the man nor the woman ever went to church, and they were both known as beggars.

Father Judas — mysterious beggar; very old, white beard, thin arms; believed to be the Wandering Jew.

It was our Lady the Virgin who permitted that, sir, seeing that a woman had opened her door to Judas.

One day, the man brought home two pigs, which he had received as a gift for curing a farmer's illness. The woman continued to beg for alms, while the man tended to the pigs. When the woman fell ill, the man went to town to get medicine. The local priest tried to visit the dying woman, but the old man refused to let him in, cursing him in an unknown language.

After the woman's death, the man disappeared during Holy Week. On Easter Monday, some children found the door to the hovel closed and heard a commotion inside. When they broke down the door, the two pigs escaped, never to be seen again. Inside the hovel, they found the remains of the old man, who had been eaten by his pigs. It was believed that he had died on Good Friday at three in the afternoon, and the red cross on the wall appeared mysteriously, confirming that the Wandering Jew had indeed died there.