Charles-Louis Philippe: The Match

May 27, 2009

I reread this today is in a book of  short stories collected under the title Adventure. 

Hardly four pages in length, it’s about a traveller. Having arrived in Zurich, he checks into a hotel  and goes to bed in his room.

He lights a cigarette and throws the match on the floor. Seized with an anxiety that it may not have burnt out and may cause a fire, he bends down to look at it when –

When a hand hidden under the bed emerges, and puts out the match!

There is a man under the bed!

From then on it’s a breath-taking narration.

When I read this story decades ago I had not realised this was a French author. Today I learnt it from Google. The book didn’t mention it and didn’t give the translator’s name.


At first our brain appreciates only what our eyes have indicated to it.