From childhood, till now you must have read or listened to many short stories. From children to adults everyone loves reading these small shots of fiction and there is no doubt, short stories have always been the favorite of every age group. But why they are so much popular in every generation? the answer lies behind its reading time as they are quickly readable and still being small every good short story holds the potential to impact its reader delivering the best reading experience in a short interval of time.
Related: How to Write a Short Story
So either you are stuck in traffic, got a little break from your work, or just waiting for someone, in every circumstance completing a short story is always possible then starting a whole new novel.
Any short story can be completed in just one sitting so you don’t need to specially take out time from your busy schedule like what you do for the novels.
Related: Free Famous Horror Short Stories
Either you are a reader or a writer you can easily finish writing or reading a short story in no time. Enjoy our best examples of short stories.
Short Story Examples
(≈ 5000 words)
The Drunken Ghost– A strange tale
It all started in the summer of 1997, with my journey to the village of Raawi, situated on the outskirts of Chennai.
My school summer vacation had started, and this time, instead of going somewhere closer, we chose to visit Raawi which was my grandpa’s birthplace.
It would be the first time I had made such a long journey by train, and it was going to take more than twenty-four hours to reach Chennai, a thousand miles away. But I was so happy because I had the company of my parents and my grandpa, who was also my best friend.
My grandpa and I were very close, more like buddies, and I was happy to be making that journey because it meant that we would get to spend so much time together.
My parents were travelling in the first-class compartment, but grandpa and I were travelling in another compartment, further along the train from them.
What was nicest, was that there was no one to annoy me or order me around during the whole journey.
I enjoyed watching new people and places through the train window as we passed by.
My grandpa, who was very fond of books, was busy reading Silas Marner, but in between, he used to tell me stories.
Later, once the sun had set, my amusing journey changed into a monotonous night, as I couldn’t see anything in the darkness through the window. Unfortunately, I had already read Silas Marner at school, so I couldn’t even ask grandpa to read it to me until I fell asleep. Anyway, I wasn’t feeling at all sleepy.
Then I had an idea.
I coaxed my grandpa, who was busy finishing his book, to tell me a story I had never heard before. Something new and not from any book. I suggested a ghost story, because I like horror stories a lot.
Initially grandpa took no notice of me, and continued to read his book. But later, when he saw I was upset, he told me he thought I was too young to hear a ghost story, and I might not be able to sleep properly after listening to it.
But I was stubborn, and kept on at him to change his mind. I reminded grandpa that I was in ninth grade now, and easily brave enough to listen to a ghost story.
Grandpa eventually agreed to tell me a ghost story, one he said was true, and from our village of Raawi.
And so, the story began…
Once upon a time, in our village of Raawi, there used to be a bicycle mechanic, whose name was Sama.
Sama was an orphan child, whom Prem Nath, the priest of Raawi village had found at the Chennai railway station, selling pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses.
Initially, Prem Nath had no feeling for the little orphan boy, as every day he would see him selling pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses at the station. But one day, Prem Nath approached Sama, wanting to buy a picture of Lord Shiva for his temple at Raawi.
Somehow, he mistakenly paid the boy twice the cost of the picture in his haste to be on his way. Before he could get to the station exit, the little boy caught up with him and stopped Prem Nath. Sama told him that he didn’t know much about maths, but it looked like instead of giving Sama one ten-rupee note, Prem Nath had given him two ten rupee notes by mistake.
Prem Nath was impressed by the honesty of the little boy and told him that he could keep the extra money, but the little boy refused it, smiling, saying that he might be very hungry, but he wasn’t yet a beggar or a thief.
Once more Prem Nath was very impressed by the little boy, and his witty answers, so he invited the boy to his home for dinner. The little boy accepted Prem Nath’s invitation and they made their way to his home in Raawi.
Prem Nath welcomed the orphan boy into the small house where he lived a lonely and reclusive life, with no immediate family.
Prem Nath gave the little boy a meal and some fruit, which the villagers had given him as their priest, and offered him a bed for the night.
Prem Nath was amazed, watching how well-mannered the little boy was, as before he ate anything, he thanked god for providing such a lovely meal, and thanked Prem Nath for inviting him, an orphan boy, to his house for dinner, when he didn’t really know him at all.
The next day, the little boy got ready to leave for the railway station, to go back to his orphan life again. But before leaving, he again thanked Prem Nath for providing him food and shelter for the night, and allowing him to experience living in a real home, which he’d never known before. The railway station had always been his home.
Before he left, the little boy touched the feet of Prem Nath, as a sign of respect, then walked away from his house.
Prem Nath was quite overwhelmed with the good manners and excellent behaviour of the little orphan boy, and couldn’t resist going back to the station that same evening, where he again saw the boy selling pictures.
Prem Nath hurriedly approached him, and hugged the little boy very tightly.
The little boy was surprised, and asked Prem Nath whether he’d come to buy some more pictures from him.
Prem Nath looked at the orphan boy and smiled. He asked him whether he went to school, and the boy replied happily that when he started earning enough money to pay the school fees, then he would definitely go to school.
Prem Nath then told the little boy that he didn’t need to earn money any more, and that he could live with Prem Nath and start going to school the very next day.
Soon the two returned to Raawi again, and the next morning, Prem Nath enrolled the boy at the local village school. But when the teacher asked the name from the boy to enter in the register, the little orphan boy replied that he didn’t have a name.
Prem Nath immediately interrupted him, saying that he did have a name, and told the teacher his name was Sama.
As Prem Nath had met the boy twice, both times in the evening, which in Hindi was called ‘saam’, it seemed proper to name him Sama.
After that, little Sama started going to school regularly. He was very happy to join the school, as he used to dream about it every day. Prem Nath started fostering the little boy like a real father, and every day he used to drop him at the school and pick him up afterwards.
Prem Nath, who had lived like a recluse for so many years, soon started feeling a soothing happiness that came from little Sama, and being his father.
Soon they started feeling respect, love, and affection for each other. Sama started calling Prem Nath ‘appa’ or father, and Prem Nath would introduce Sama to the villagers as his son.
Prem Nath was so happy to see that Sama was also very clever at his studies, and was coming first in the class. The villagers started calling him little Prem Nath’s ‘Ramanujan’, after the famous Indian mathematician,
Lots of years passed in happiness.
But sadly though, it seemed like god hadn’t written much happiness in Sama’s fate, as soon after, Prem Nath passed away leaving Sama orphaned again.
After such a catastrophe, Sama had to leave his further studies and start working to feed himself. At the age of eighteen he opened his own bicycle repair shop near the village with some money which his father had left for him.
Initially, Sama used to get upset and sometimes depressed following the death of his guardian, Prem Nath. But soon he was too busy trying to feed himself and survive alone, the way he had done before meeting his father, Prem Nath. As the days passed, he became fully immersed in his repair work.
Sama also had a childhood friend, a girl called Zoya, who was also living in Raawi, and was his only friend. He never used to talk to the other children in the village after Prem Nath’s death, and only spent time with his friend, Zoya.
He remembered how Zoya had fed him, when no one would even look at him after Prem Nath’s death.
Zoya used to take food items every day from her home so she could give them to give to her friend Sama. She got caught many times, and had to face the anger of her parents, but she never stopped doing it, as Sama needed food.
Time passed and they both grew up, and their friendship developed into love.
Sama wanted to marry Zoya, but her parents would not give their consent for the marriage, as Zoya was from the Muslim community, and her parents wanted a Muslim husband for their beautiful daughter.
Eventually, Sama used his clever thinking to convince Zoya’s parents, by saying that as he was an orphan child, he didn’t actually know what religion he was, so there was a chance that his real parents had also belonged to Muslim community.
Sama’s explanation satisfied Zoya’s parents, and they were allowed to marry and start living together.
The sadness inside him over the death of Prem Nath, eventually became too much to deal with, and Sama started to drink.
Despite all the good deeds he tried to do, he turned to alcohol to calm his grief and sorrow for his beloved Prem Nath. After a while the drinking become a regular habit for Sama.
Most of his wages were now spent on drinking and this caused many quarrels with Zoya, who wanted him to buy a bicycle instead of spending their money on alcohol.
Sama’s repair shop was four miles away from the village, and because he was the only mechanic among the three nearby villages, he was working long hours in his small repair shop and not returning until late every evening.
Zoya always urged him to buy a bicycle, as if he had one of his own, then he could easily get to his shop and back to his village at a sensible time.
Sama never listened to Zoya and kept spending his money on drink.
Sadly, Zoya became ill with tuberculosis and suffered with it for many years.
By now, Sama’s drinking habit meant Zoya had to live in hardship.
Zoya had used to teach Urdu to the local Muslim children to earn some extra money. This had helped her to live a regular, normal life. But once the villagers heard that she was suffering from tuberculosis, they stopped sending their children to her as it was contagious. After that, there was nothing she could do to help herself.
As the days passed, Zoya’s health deteriorated, until she could not even breathe properly and had no money to buy medicines or to consult a doctor.
It seemed like once more, misfortune was knocking at Sama’s door.
Once, when Zoya was very ill, coughing a lot and with a fever, she asked Sama not to go to his shop, and instead to stay at home with her. But Sama had to refuse her request because he had to repair and return the head postman’s bicycle, but he promised her he would come home as soon as he finished his work. He encouraged her to rest.
Once he reached his shop, he quickly repaired the postman bicycle and delivered it back to him within the hour. The post man was very impressed by Sama’s fast service, and gave him twenty rupees instead of ten.
Sama was very pleased and went to the village market to buy some medicine and snacks for Zoya.
But in the meantime, the weather had started changing and the sky was full of black clouds.
Sama was hurrying to reach his home, when suddenly one of the old men from his village appeared and told him that his wife was very ill and calling for him.
Sama rushed to get to his village quickly.
After a mile he got very tired, and was drenched by the heavy rainfall.
He tried asking for a lift from the villagers rushing past on their bicycles. but nobody would stop for him.
Eventually, he sheltered under a big banyan tree, and waited till the rainfall stopped around four o’clock in the evening.
When he reached his village, he saw the villagers gathered around his house, and when he got closer, he found his beloved Zoya, laid on the ground, covered by a white shawl.
Sama felt so guilty, and blamed himself for Zoya’s death, as he hadn’t reached her in time with the medicine. But he felt especially guilty that he had never listened to Zoya when she always urged him to buy a bicycle.
Sama thought that if he’d had his own bicycle, then he could have reached Zoya in time with the medicine which might have saved her.
The next morning the villagers found Sama’s home and his repairing shop both locked.
The villagers guessed that Sama would be very saddened by the tragic death of his beloved wife, and might wanted some peace. He would return when he felt able to carry on.
Time passed, and no one received any news to explain Sama’s disappearance.
A week later, a villager reportedly heard about an unidentified man who had been killed by a tiger near the village. Initially, none of the villagers linked the news of the man killed by the tiger with Sama’s disappearance, but when more days passed and no one had any clue about Sama’s whereabouts, everyone started to believe that the man who’d been killed in the jungle was actually Sama.
Shortly afterwards, as people started to accept that Sama was dead, something happened that no one in the village expected.
One day, as a villager was walking towards Sama’s repair shop with his bicycle, he heard Sama’s voice asking for lift. But when the villager looked back he found no one.
After this incident, the villager told everyone it was the ghost of Sama, and he exaggerated that it was the depressed soul of Sama, who had returned to curse the village and take revenge because no one had helped him in his time of need.
After that day, whenever the villagers walked passed the closed bicycle repair shop alone, they could hear his sobbing voice asking for lift.
As it only happened when someone passed alone, people started to walk past his shop in pairs.
One day a local man was coming back to his village, leaving his wife at his in-laws’ home in other village. When he passed by Sama’s shop on his bicycle, he heard a sobbing voice asking for lift.
After hearing the voice, the villager got scared and increased his speed, but suddenly he felt that someone was sitting behind him, on the back seat of his bicycle.
The man looked back but found no one. Meanwhile, he heard the voice saying, “Did you want to see me, people?”
After hearing those frightening words the man became very scared, jumped on his bicycle and raced to the village.
After hearing about the incident, the villagers employed an able-bodied man by the name of Bhima, whose sole job was to help the villagers pass in front of Sama’s haunted shop, and to look after the village at night to stop the ghost of Sama entering Raawi.
One night, Bhima was on his regular walk around the village when he felt like someone was following him. He wasn’t too bothered, as he thought that it might be some dog or another stray animal. Later, as he reached Sama’s shop he started showing off, and challenged Sama’s ghost to appear front of him.
Hearing a strange noise, he walked around to the back of Sama’s repair shop. As soon as he walked around the corner, someone jolted him hard by kicking him in his back, causing him to fall on the ground and pass out.
The next day the villagers awoke Bhima, and asked him what he was doing on the ground and what had happened during the night. Did he see Sama’s ghost?
Instead of answering the villagers’ questions, Bhima meekly got up and told them that he was quitting his job and the village too, and that same day he left the village without giving any further explanation.
The villagers knew that something very strange had happened that night to compel Bhima, an able-bodied man, to leave the village.
The villagers became even more frightened after that.
Then the villagers called Kalo, a priest and part-time ghost-catcher. Kalo had once been a bandit, but after being released from jail, had become a priest and famous ghost-catcher.
Kalo gathered the whole village and performed some rituals, saying he could feel the presence of Sama’s ghost around the village. He said that he would easily catch the ghost.
Kalo asked the villagers to provide him with a bicycle on which he would ride to Sama’s shop, and when Sama’s ghost appeared to ask him for a lift he would catch it.
Kalo asked them to pay him three hundred rupees in advance for catching the dangerous ghost. He warned the villagers not to come out from their homes that night, because when he started trying to catch the ghost, it might try and hurt them.
As the villagers wanted to get rid of Sama’s ghost at any cost, they agreed to all of Kalo’s demands.
After getting the consent of the villagers to all his demands, Kalo said that he would wait until it was late and would catch the ghost that same night, and present it to the villagers the next morning.
The next day, the whole village gathered to see Sama’s ghost, but they neither found the ghost, nor the ghost-catcher Kalo.
However, they saw a pedlar coming into the village with the same bicycle they had provided to Kalo.
The villagers assumed the ghost must have killed Kalo, and that the pedlar was there to return the bicycle.
They approached the pedlar, thanking him for bringing the bicycle back, and asked him where he’d met Kalo and whether he was still alive.
The pedlar’s answer shocked the villagers, as he said that he didn’t know of any Kalo, and that he wasn’t returning any bicycle as it belonged to him as he had bought it from a stranger.
Suddenly, more villagers arrived and informed them that their animals had disappeared. Many cows and quite a few goats were missing from their shelters.
Then the villagers realized that Kalo, the bandit, had deceived them all. He’d made every one of them look a fool, by looting the whole village before running away.
The villagers realised that they had to deal with the crisis on their own.
They decided to burn Sama’s haunted repair shop, so neither the shop nor the ghost of Sama would exist.
Meanwhile, a young villager named Altaf stepped forward. Altaf was regarded as the village show-off, and was always pretending to be invincible.
But Altaf was ready to burn the shop down, so the villagers thought that it would be a good way to test Atlaf’s bravery.
Later that same evening, Altaf and some villagers went to Sama’s shop. The place was deathly quiet, but when they got closer to Sama’s shop they started hearing a voice, crying, and sobbing.
When the voice became louder, some of the villagers got frightened and ran off.
But Altaf had no choice. He couldn’t turn back without burning the shop, as he had bragged a lot about his bravery. He thought that if he turned back without setting fire to the haunted shop, the whole village would mock him.
So, he climbed on a nearby tree and waited until the crying voices stopped.
Once the voices stopped, he hurriedly got down from the tree to burn the shop before the ghost of Sama returned.
He took out the kerosene bottle he had brought with him, and emptied it in Sama’s haunted shop and tried to light the matchstick. He tried once, twice, but when he tried a third time, he realised someone was standing behind him, blowing the flame out.
When Altaf tried to look back, a shadow grabbed him, saying how dare he burn everything. Suddenly the shadow smashed him against a tree.
The next morning, the villagers found Altaf at the village entrance, shivering with fear, and unable to speak.
The villagers had lost their last hope of getting rid of Sama’s ghost.
They could do nothing except live in fear and always travel in pairs.
Many days passed in fear.
One day a villager named Manu, who was living in the city and working as a teacher at the city school, was coming back to Raawi with his younger brother to visit.
When they were only five miles away from their village, Manu’s brother suddenly got off his bicycle and told Manu that he had to go to another village to visit his sick friend. He told Manu that he might arrive later, or if not, would come the next day.
Manu let his brother go to meet his friend and decided to travel alone to Raawi, even knowing that it was a dangerous journey. He had heard all about the incidents of Sama’s ghost hurting people and asking for lifts from the villagers.
But Manu was a very wise and clever man, and much braver than the other villagers of Raawi.
He knew that as scared as he was, he shouldn’t show it.
He started singing a song while he cycled, but as soon as he reached Sama’s haunted shop, he heard a voice saying, “You sing very well”. Manu froze, but when he looked back, he found no one.
Manu stayed calm and continued his cycling.
Then a loud voice reached his ears, repeatedly asking for a lift. This time Manu was really scared, but tried to stay calm, as he sought to appease the voice.
He replied that he was ready to offer a lift.
But there was no response.
He cycled on for some distance until he started to feel like someone was sitting behind him, on the back seat. Manu tried to look back again, but instantly the voice whispered that he mustn’t look back, but should keep cycling until he reached the village.
Manu felt goose bumps rise on his skin after hearing the whispering, but he didn’t lose control.
To help overcome his fear, Manu decided to talk to the voice. He asked the voice why he frightened the villagers, and always asked them for a lift.
After a while, the voice explained that when his wife had been ill and he was desperate to reach the village, nobody would take him to her. Manu was the first person who had ever offered him a lift.
When the village was half mile away, Manu tried to look back again in curiosity, but once more, the voice told him that he shouldn’t look back.
Manu argued that he was brave enough to see him.
Eventually, when the voice agreed, and he looked back, he was stunned when he saw Sama.
Not only was Sama alive, and not a ghost at all, but he was dressed in tattered clothes and seemed to be in a drunken state
Manu took him to the village and gave him some clean clothes and food to eat. The whole village gathered to see the ghost of Sama, who was not a ghost after all, but a sad, drunken man.
Sama cried and confessed that he was the ghost who was scaring the villagers whenever he was in a drunken state.
The villagers felt relieved, letting him off with just a warning, but forbade Sama from drinking alcohol and frightening them again.
The villagers thanked Manu profusely, for showing such bravery as to offer a lift to the so-called ghost, and ultimately revealing and debunking the mystery of Sama’s ghost.
The villagers gave Manu the name ‘Mr. Fearless’.
Grandpa ended the story at that point.
The next morning the train reached Chennai, and my family climbed down from the train.
I asked my grandpa to take me to meet the brave villager, Manu, who gave the lift to the drunken ghost. Grandpa agreed that when we reached the village he would definitely take me to meet the brave villager, Manu.
After an hour, we reached our village, Raawi, and I was very eager to meet Manu, but Grandpa told me I had to wait for a little while. Grandpa’ words frustrated me, and I sat on the sofa, sulking.
Subsequently, an old mane came in, shouting Manu’s name, and asking where his friend was. I watched grandpa get up from his chair and go and greet the old man.
As I followed grandpa, I saw the old man shaking his hand with a smile, asking how Mr. Fearless was doing. Grandpa saw me staring at him and winked at me.
Then I understood that I’d always known Manu. The Mr. Fearless of the village was my grandpa, Mr. Manvir Singh.
The week passed quickly with much enjoyment until it was time for us to return to our home in Calcutta.
Early in the morning, a big van came to take us to the railway station. The driver came out and greeted my grandpa, and we all climbed into the van.
I noticed that a very pretty girl, about the same age as me, was sitting beside the driver, calling him appa (father).
The driver started the van and we were on our way to the station.
After a while, I realised that I still had one more request to make of my grandpa. I reminded grandpa that he had not taken me to meet Sama, ‘the drunken ghost’. I asked him where Sama was now, and whether he still lived in Raawi.
Grandpa asked me to be patient and he would answer all my questions.
He began by explaining to me that Sama was with us at that very moment.
I asked how that was possible, but grandpa just turned and said, “Sama, I’d like you to meet my grandson, Dev.”
The van driver turned back and greeted me, saying “Hello Dev, how are you?”
I was shocked, and asked grandpa whether this van driver was really the ‘drunken ghost’ Sama.
Grandpa explained that he was not just a driver. No, he was Mr. Sam Nath, a successful business man, and right now we were travelling in his van.
I finally understood everything, but I still had one last question to ask, about why the girl sitting beside to Mr. Sama was calling him appa.
Grandpa explained that he had forgotten to tell me about her. She was Sanam, and was Sama’s only daughter. Because her mother had always been so ill, she had lived with her aunt since birth, but she was now living with her father, Sama, again.
Later, when we reached Chennai station, I saw Sanam was also following us with her luggage. Mr Sama explained that his daughter was also going to Calcutta to meet her aunt, and would be joining us on the journey. I couldn’t help but smile.
After hearing that Sanam was joining us, I was in seventh heaven, and was happy when she sat on my side of the train. We travelled together for the whole journey, and Sanam and I talked constantly as she became my new best friend.
Thirteen years have passed now, but I still remember the incredible journey I shared with my grandpa to the quaint village of Raawi, and I’ll never forget the best part of that trip, which was Grandpa telling me the story of The Drunken Ghost.
I still remember every character from the story of Sama and Zoya. Like Mr Prem Nath the kind-hearted, reclusive priest who gave Sama the love of a family, Altaf the young man they called the ‘Mr Show-Off of Raawi’, Bhima the man who had been so foolish, and Kalo, the deceitful ghost-catcher and bandit.
But, obviously, my favourite character in the whole story was my grandpa Manu, Mr Fearless.
Strangely, these characters have taught me many lessons on how to live my life.
Now, once more I’m on a journey to the village of Raawi, but this time I’m travelling not only with my grandpa and my parents, but with my whole family, friends, and relatives, who have gathered there to attend a wedding ceremony.
The wedding of little Dev, who is now all grown up and is ready to be a bridegroom.
I’m happier than I have ever been, as one more time I take a journey that will change my life.
So, welcome everyone, to the wedding of Dev and Sanam….
Get “The Drunken Ghost” eBook on Google play book store.
More great short story examples-
- ”The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
- ”The Monkey’s Poe” by W.W Jacobs
- ”The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
- ”The gift of the Magi” by O. Henry
- ”The lottery” by Shirley Jackson
- ”The Dead” by James Joyce
Yet want more short story examples than see here