Roads of Destiny (Henry)

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Roads of Destiny
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A young poet leaves his home to seek fame and fortune, but his journey takes unexpected turns, leading him back to his village and the love he left behind.

David, a young poet, decides to leave his home in Vernoy after a quarrel with his love, Yvonne. He sets out on a journey to seek fame and honor in the world.

David Mignot — young poet and shepherd; dreamy, romantic, and determined.
Yvonne — David's love interest and later wife; strong-willed and caring.

Along the way, he encounters a carriage stuck in a brook and helps to free it. The occupants of the carriage, a marquis and a lady named Lucie, invite David to join them. The marquis reveals that Lucie is his niece and that he intends to marry her off to the first man they meet. David agrees to marry Lucie, despite the marquis' warning that she will bring him shame and anxiety.

Marquis de Beaupertuys — a huge, black-clothed man; cruel, manipulative, and vengeful.
Mademoiselle Lucie de Varennes — niece of the Marquis; young, beautiful, and trapped.

"You will regret it, and despise me."

David reassures Mademoiselle Lucie de Varennes of his commitment to making her happy and becoming a better person for her.

"I will live only to make you happy, and myself worthy of you."

They arrive at an inn, where the marquis insults David and challenges him to a duel. David is killed in the duel, and the marquis and Lucie continue on their way.

In another version of the story, David decides to return home to Yvonne after realizing his love for her. He gives up his dreams of being a poet and focuses on his sheep and his marriage. However, his passion for poetry is rekindled, and he begins writing again. His neglect of his sheep leads to their decline, causing tension between him and Yvonne. Eventually, David seeks the advice of a learned man who tells him to live his poetry rather than write it.

Monsieur Bril — learned man and poet; wise, knowledgeable, and introspective.

David returns to his sheep and burns his poems, symbolizing his commitment to his wife and his responsibilities. Tragically, David dies by suicide, leaving the village in shock.