Many of us use to make a fuss about the trifles. We can be so easily offended. Nevertheless, who is able to shake off someone’s offensive words and go further, he or she is a happy person. Discontents may turn into a serious problem, if they are not stopped. Like an aching wound, offensive words can occupy our mind as well as take away all our time and attention. Guy de Maupassant wrote an interesting chronicle, which illustrates this.
In the short story „The Piece of String”, Maupassant tells the reader about a peasant named M. Hauchecome who went to the city, as it was a market day. He had rheumatism. When he hobbled along the road, he noticed a piece of string on the ground. He picked it up and gently put into his pocket as he thought „that everything was worth picking up which could be of any use” (Maupassant 223). Unfortunately, his foe M. Malandain was watching him at this moment, „He (Hauchecome) took the bit of thin string from the ground and was carefully preparing to roll it up when he saw Maitre Malandain, the harness maker, on his doorstep staring at him” (Maupassant 223).
At that time, the mayor of the city was told that someone lost wallet with the money. Malandain said as if Hauchecome picked up wallet. As the result, Hauchecome was accused of stealing. Hauchecome vehemently argued his innocence, „Ah! he saw me, did he, the rascal? He saw me picking up this string here, M’sieu le Maire … For all that, it is God’s truth, M’sieu le Maire. There! On my soul’s salvation, I repeat it“ (Maupassant 225). Nevertheless, Hauchecome was searched. However, they were found nothing but the piece of string.
Hauchecome, indignant at the false accusation, could not forget his offense. Wherever he may went and whomever he met, he talked only about it. He bored with his trouble everyone, „he told it on the reads to the people who passed, at the cabaret to the people who drank and next Sunday when they came out of church. He even stopped strangers to tell them about it” (Maupassant 226). So everybody has already started to complain about him. Such a reaction distressed him greatly. As the result, his mind began to weaken and, at the end of December, he fell ill. Nevertheless, in the delirium he still continued talking about innocence, repeating: „A little bit of string – a little bit of string. See, here it is, M’sieu le Maire“ (Maupassant 228).
Guy de Maupassant perfectly illustrated in his short story „The Piece of String” to what consequences offensive words might lead. So, if the person is at peace within himself or herself, if he or she knows that what is said by everyone is not true, so there is nothing to worry about. In other way, the consequences might be irreversible. No matter who you are and what you value, you do not need neither be ashamed of nor be excused by anyone.
Maupassant, Guy de. Une Vie, a Piece of String and Other
Stories. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2006.
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