Théodule Sabot’s Confession (Maupassant)

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Théodule Sabot’s Confession
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A radical joiner sought a church repair contract but was required to publicly confess and communicate at mass by the priest, leading to a change in his behavior and beliefs.

Théodule Sabot, a master joiner, was known for his radical views and disdain for the church in the small town of Martinville. He often mocked the local priest, Reverend Maritime, and worked on Sundays to show his disregard for religion.

Théodule Sabot — master joiner; tall, thin, with a sly grey eye and small thin-lipped mouth; radical, atheist, but greedy for gain.

One example of his mockery was when he said, "There’s the fellow who’s just been swallowing his God out of a pint-pot," as the rector passed by, showing his disdain for the priest's religious practices.

There’s the fellow who’s just been swallowing his God out of a pint-pot.

The two men had been in a constant struggle for years, with Sabot even serving on the town council. One day, it was announced that the chancel of the church was to be restored, with new oak stalls replacing the old ones. The news excited the town, but Sabot was filled with rage, knowing that he would not be given the job due to his anti-religious views. However, when the priest expressed his reluctance to give the work to a joiner from a neighboring village, Sabot saw an opportunity and approached the priest to negotiate.

The Rector — priest; stout, tall, diplomatic, and crafty; enjoys scheming and has a rivalry with Sabot.

Sabot said, "I’ve come for the work," expressing his desire to obtain the church repair contract and showing his willingness to put aside his beliefs for the sake of financial gain.

I’ve come for the work.

The priest agreed to give Sabot the job, but only if he publicly communicated at High Mass the following Sunday. Sabot hesitated but eventually agreed, knowing the financial gain from the job would be significant. The priest also required Sabot to confess his sins, which he did reluctantly.

After confessing and receiving absolution, Sabot began working on the repairs to the choir and started attending communion every month. The once-antagonistic relationship between Sabot and the priest had transformed, and the joiner's newfound faith brought about a change in his attitude towards religion and the church.