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The Liar
by William Faulkner
The work. A short story1 first published in the Times-Picayune Sunday edition, July 26, 1925, then in Faulkner's New Orleans Sketches in 1953.
Synopsis. An inveterate liar spins a spellbinding yarn for locals at a country store. Only this time, to his peril, the liar tells (or says he is telling) the truth.
Four men sat comfortably on the porch of Gibson's store, facing the railroad tracks and two nondescript yellow buildings. The two buildings belonged to the railroad company, hence they were tidy in an impersonal way, and were painted the same prodigious yel­low. The store, not belonging to the railroad company, was not painted. It squatted stolidly against a rising hill, so that the proprietor could sit at ease, spitting into the valley, and watch the smoke-heralded passing of casual trains. The store and the proprietor resembled each other, slovenly and comfortable; and it was seldom that the owner's was the only chair tilted against the wall, and his the only shavings littering the floor.
Today he had four guests. Two of these had ridden in from the hills for trivial necessities, the other two had descended from the morning's local freight; and they sat in easy amity, watching the smoke from the locomotive dwindle away down the valley. "Who's that feller, coming up from the deepo?" spoke one at last. The others followed his gaze and the stranger mounted the path from the station under their steady provincial stare. He was roughly dressed—a battered felt hat, a coarse blue cloth jacket and corduroy trousers—a costume identical with that of at least one of the watchers.
1Story contents: © Copyright 2017, Faulkner Literary Rights, LLC. All rights reservered. Used with permission, Faulkner Literary Estate, Lee Caplin, Executor.
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