Gup De Maupassant was a master of the short story. This collection reflects his remarkable diversity, with stories that vary in theme and tone, and range from tragedy and satire to comedy and farce. With a simplicity of style that masks complex philosophy, Maupassant can illuminate an entire code of values by means of a few telling details. He exposes the brutality of war and the hypocrisy it spawns, and depicts the petty limitations, the dissimulations and the vanities inherent at different levels of society. His stories are linked by a trenchant irony and by a preoccupation with the frailty of human nature and the futility of so many lives.