Short summary - Châli - Guy de Maupassant

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Châli
Guy de Maupassant

Micro-narration: The lieutenant is visiting an Indian rajah. He gives him concubines. Leaving, the lieutenant leaves a box for the concubine as a keepsake. The Raja decides that the girl stole the box and executes her.

1
I served as a lieutenant in the maritime service, I was thirty years old when I was assigned the task of making astronomical observations in Central India. I drove through beautiful places, saw fantastic forests, wonderful architecture. Finally I reached the destination of my journey - the city ruled by the prince - the Rajah. He was very rich, domineering, generous and cruel, a real oriental ruler.
Hunting and wrestling were his favorite pastimes. Obviously, he believed that I had come from such a distant country just to entertain him a little. But I really needed him, so I tried to flatter his inclinations.
I was accommodated in the Pleasure Palace at the end of the Tsar's park. I had to attend the hunts for tigers, panthers, bears and many other animals. He showered me with gifts, food from the master's table.
Once the prince sent me a harem - six little girls. The oldest of them was probably eight years old, and the youngest six. The oldest was named Shali. The girls knew why they came. I began to tell a fairy tale about magic spirits, then ordered them to bring sweets, cookies and jams, which they ate in huge quantities. Then I put on games to amuse my little wives. We played hide and seek, cat and mouse, tag, and the girls were delighted.
One evening, I don't know how, the oldest of them, Shali, really became my wife. I loved her like a father and caressed her like a man. Shawls never parted with me, except when I went to see the prince.
The Raja continued to send gifts. Among them was a thing that delighted Shali - a cardboard box covered with small shells. It would have been very cheap in France, but here it was a priceless treasure.
Meanwhile, my work was finished, and I had to return to my homeland. Farewell to Shali was very difficult, she sobbed. To somehow console her, I gave her a box of seashells. She was very happy and kissed me warmly. I kissed all my other wives fatherly, gave them cakes and left.
2
Two years later, the circumstances of the naval service required me to travel to Bombay. I finished my work quickly and decided to visit the Raja and my lovely little wife Shali. A person close to the rajah said that Shali had done a low deed - on the day of my departure, she stole a box of shells, which the rajah had given me. Shali swore it was your gift. She was punished - tied in a sack and thrown into the lake.
"And now it seems to me that I have never loved a single woman except Shali"