The Shepherd’s Leap (Maupassant)

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The Shepherd’s Leap
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A strict priest, enraged by a couple's intimacy, locked them in a shepherd's hut and pushed it down a cliff, killing them. He was later arrested and sentenced to penal servitude.

A young priest, known for his austere and violent nature, ruled a village near the sea. He despised love and was particularly disgusted by the vulgar misconduct of the villagers, who he believed behaved like animals.

The Priest — young, austere, and violent; intolerant and hateful towards love and physical desires; eventually arrested and sentenced.

He likened them to brutes, these people who knew nothing of love and who simply paired like animals.

The priest's violent sermons often caused the villagers to gossip about his strictness. After one of his sermons, the villagers commented, "He does not joke about the matter, Mo’sieu’ the Curé!"

He does not joke abont the matter, Mo’sieu’ the Curé!

One day, the priest came across a group of children watching a dog give birth to puppies. Enraged, he beat the children and then killed the dog in front of the newborn puppies. The priest often took long walks alone, and during one of these walks, he sought shelter from a storm in a shepherd's hut. Inside, he found a young couple embracing each other. Furious, he locked them inside the hut and dragged it to the edge of a steep cliff, where he let it roll down, killing the couple.

The priest refused to admit the couple's corpses into the church or to pronounce a benediction over their coffins. In his next sermon, he spoke vehemently about the Seventh Commandment and threatened the lovers with an avenging and mysterious arm. However, he was arrested by two gendarmes after a coastguard witnessed his actions. The priest was sentenced to a term of penal servitude.

The priest was sentenced to a term of penal servitude.

The villagers remembered him as a rough man who did not tolerate any fooling.