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An Old Woman's Tale (From: "The Doliver Romance and Other Pieces: Tales and Sketches")   By: (1804-1864)

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An Old Woman's Tale by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a captivating short story that delves into the realms of fantasy and imagination. With his usual masterful prose and keen attention to detail, Hawthorne weaves a tale that enchants readers from start to finish.

The story follows an old woman who, through her memories and vivid storytelling, takes the reader on a journey into the distant past. With her tales of mystical creatures, enchanting landscapes, and forbidden love, she enthralls both the young and the old who listen with rapt attention.

Hawthorne's storytelling ability shines through in this narrative, as he seamlessly blends reality with fantasy. He paints intricate pictures with his words, creating vivid imagery that allows the reader to imagine themselves in the old woman's world. The author's descriptive prowess truly transports the reader to another time and place, evoking a sense of wonder and awe.

There is a beautiful melancholy that permeates An Old Woman's Tale. As the old woman recounts her stories, there is an underlying sense of longing and nostalgia. Through her words, Hawthorne explores themes of love, loss, and the passing of time. The reader is left with a poignant sense of the fleeting nature of life and the importance of cherishing and preserving memories.

Furthermore, Hawthorne expertly interweaves elements of romance and mystery into the narrative. The old woman's tales are filled with forbidden love affairs, hidden secrets, and enigmatic characters that add an air of intrigue to the overall plot. These elements serve to keep the reader engaged and eager to discover more about the old woman's past.

One of the strengths of this story is Hawthorne's ability to create well-rounded and relatable characters, despite the fantastical nature of the narrative. The old woman is a particularly compelling figure, with layers of depth and wisdom that are gradually unveiled as the story progresses. Through her storytelling, Hawthorne offers insights into the human condition and the complexities of life.

An Old Woman's Tale is a beautifully written and thought-provoking story that showcases Hawthorne's mastery of the written word. It examines themes of memory, love, and the passing of time, all while transporting the reader to a world of fantasy and enchantment. It is a testament to Hawthorne's talent as a storyteller and is sure to captivate fans of his work.

First Page:



By Nathaniel Hawthorne


In the house where I was born, there used to be an old woman crouching all day long over the kitchen fire, with her elbows on her knees and her feet in the ashes. Once in a while she took a turn at the spit, and she never lacked a coarse gray stocking in her lap, the foot about half finished; it tapered away with her own waning life, and she knit the toe stitch on the day of her death. She made it her serious business and sole amusement to tell me stories at any time from morning till night, in a mumbling, toothless voice, as I sat on a log of wood, grasping her cheek apron in both my hands. Her personal memory included the better part of a hundred years, and she had strangely jumbled her own experience and observation with those of many old people who died in her young days; so that she might have been taken for a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth, or of John Rogers in the Primer. There are a thousand of her traditions lurking in the corners and by places of my mind, some more marvellous than what is to follow, some less so, and a few not marvellous in the least, all of which I should like to repeat, if I were as happy as she in having a listener... Continue reading book >>

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