The New Generation of Classic Short Stories

Vol. 17, No. 2

Madame Bovary’s Greyhound

by Karen Russell

I. First Love
They took walks to the beech grove at Banneville, near the abandoned pavilion. Foxglove and gillyflowers, beige lichen growing in one thick, crawling curtain around the socketed windows. Moths blinked wings at them, crescents of blue and red and tiger-yellow, like eyes caught in a net.
     Emma sat and poked at the grass with the skeletal end of her parasol, as if she were trying to blind each blade.
     "Oh, why did I ever get married?" she moaned aloud, again and again.
     The greyhound whined with her, distressed by her distress. Sometimes, in a traitorous fugue, the dog forgot to be unhappy and ran off to chase purple butterflies or murder shrew mice, or to piss a joyful stream onto the topiaries. But generally, if her mistress was crying, so was the puppy. Her name was Djali, and she had been a gift from the young woman's husband, Dr. Charles Bovary.

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