The Rabbit (Maupassant)

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The Rabbit
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A farmer accused a former worker of stealing a rabbit, and the police found the thief hiding under a bed with the stolen rabbit cooked in a casserole.

One morning, a farmer named Lecacheur discovered that a rabbit had been stolen from his farm. He suspected a former employee, Polyte, of committing the theft and sent for the police.

Lecacheur — wealthy farmer and mayor of Pavigny-le-Gras; cunning, suspicious.
Polyte — former worker on Lecacheur's farm; loafer, thief, and womanizer.

The police officers, Inspector Sénateur and Constable Lenient, arrived at the farm and began their investigation.

Inspector Sénateur — tall, thin police inspector; enjoys joking and solving cases.
Constable Lenient — short, fat police constable; good-natured and loyal to his inspector.

They decided to search the cottage of the shepherd Severin's wife, as Polyte had been staying there.

Go and fetch the police. Say I expect them to come at once.

The police officers arrived at the cottage and found Severin's wife eating a meal that smelled like stewed rabbit. They searched the cottage and found Polyte hiding under the bed, along with the stolen rabbit and its skin. The police arrested Polyte and returned to the village with the evidence.

A week later, Severin approached Lecacheur and asked him about the rights of a husband and wife in marriage. He revealed that he had caught his wife sleeping with Polyte and wanted to know if he had the right to beat them if he caught them again. Lecacheur confirmed that he did have the right to do so.