Mouche (Maupassant)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Five friends shared a boat and a woman named Mouche, who became pregnant but lost the baby in an accident. The friends promised to help her conceive another child.

A group of five friends, all passionate about rowing, spent their days on the river Seine. They were all poor and had only one boat between them. They longed for a helmswoman to join their crew, and one day, one of the friends brought a lively, quick-witted young woman named Mouche to join them.

Mouche — young, lively, and talkative woman; shared by five friends; becomes pregnant and loses the baby.

She quickly became the center of their attention and they all adored her. La Toque answers the question of why Mouche is called Mouche, revealing her nature as a woman who attracts the attention of all the friends.

Because she's a little blister-fly.

Mouche was a free-spirited woman who had no qualms about being unfaithful to her lover, N'a-qu'un-Œil, with the other four friends.

N'a-qu'un-Œil — one of the five friends; intelligent, malicious wit; Mouche's main lover.

They all knew about her infidelity, but N'a-qu'un-Œil seemed to be unaware of it. One day, he confronted them about it, and they all admitted to their actions. They decided to continue their arrangement, with N'a-qu'un-Œil having Mouche to himself on weekends and the others sharing her during the week.

One day, Mouche announced that she was pregnant. N'a-qu'un-Œil announces Mouche's pregnancy to the group, leading to discussions about their responsibility and the child's paternity.

She is enceinte.

The friends decided to adopt the child together, regardless of who the father was. They all eagerly awaited the birth of the child, but tragedy struck when Mouche, in a moment of recklessness, jumped from the boat and hit her stomach on the edge of the quay. She went into premature labor and gave birth to a stillborn child.

The friends were devastated, but N'a-qu'un-Œil tried to comfort Mouche by promising that they would have another child together. Despite her grief, Mouche's sense of humor was rekindled by this promise, and the friends continued their adventures on the river, bound together by their shared love and loss.