The Little Cask (Maupassant)

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The Little Cask
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An innkeeper tricked an old woman into selling her farm by giving her a monthly payment and alcohol, which eventually led to her death from excessive drinking.

Maître Chicot, a cunning innkeeper, wanted to buy a farm owned by an old woman named Mother Magloire. She refused to sell it, so Chicot proposed a deal: he would give her fifty crowns a month for the rest of her life, and the farm would be his after her death.

Maître Chicot — innkeeper; tall, fat, red-faced, malicious, and cunning.
Mother Magloire — elderly woman; thin, wrinkled, bent, active, and initially sober.

Mother Magloire agreed, and for three years, Chicot paid her the money. However, Chicot grew impatient and wanted the farm sooner. He invited Mother Magloire to his inn for dinner and introduced her to a special brandy. She enjoyed it so much that he gave her a small keg of it as a gift. Soon, Mother Magloire became addicted to the brandy and started getting drunk regularly.

I was born here, and here I mean to die.

Chicot stopped visiting her and pretended to be concerned about her drinking problem. Eventually, Mother Magloire was found dead in the snow, having fallen down drunk. Chicot inherited the farm and remarked that if she hadn't taken to drink, she might have lived for ten more years.