This is a collection of famous classical short stories that are available online. We have select a variety of stories from different authors. The links go directly to the stories where they can be read online and/or heard. You can find more stories on the page featuring classic children's short stories. Even more classic works can be found on the free ebooks page. For articles and resources about writing your own short stories be sure to visit our Fiction section.
Famous Short Stories
- "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe published this classic short story in 1843. The narrator of the story argues that he is not mad as he explains how he killed an old man.
- "To Build a Fire" by Jack London
Jack London's story is set in the Yukon. A man and his dog have ventured out into the dangerously cold weather. A hot summer day would be a good time to read this story which provides great details of the icy setting.
- "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury offered a creepy, early look at a type of holodeck in his short story "The Veldt." In this case the nursery serves as a simulation room. The children love an African themed room that includes vultures and hunting lions. The parents are worried about the room but what will happen when they dad decides to disconnect it for good?
- "A Pair of Silk Stockings" by Kate Chopin
Mrs. Sommers receives an unexpected windfall and decides to spend it all on herself instead of using it conservatively. The story is set in a city in the 1890s. It follows her purchases and her trip to a department story, restaurant and theater.
- "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce
This is a fascinating story that tells the story of a civilian about to be hung. The story has amazing details and extraordinary pacing. It was first published in 1890 by The San Francisco Examiner.
- "The Lady, or the Tiger" by Frank R. Stockton
A semi-barbaric king has a cruel way to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused person. They are given two doors to choose from. One door contains a hungry lion and one door contains unmarried woman.
- "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov
In Chekhov's famous tale a man takes a banker up on a bet that the can't spend 15 years in solitary confinement. The bet is worth $2 million which was a lot in the year the story was written, 1889.
- "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway's story is set on the snow-covered Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The story follows a writer named Harry remembering his life as he is dying of gangrene.
- "The Last Night of the World" by Ray Bradbury
The world is coming to an end in Ray Bradbury's story. People seem to be accepting the end much calmer than they should be. The story was published in Esquire in February 1951.
- "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving
Irving's tale is familiar to many. It features the Headless Horseman and a superstitious schoolmaster with the unforgettable name, Ichabod Crane.
- "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson
The Lottery tells the tale of a strange ritual observed in a small village town. The creepy ritual involves drawing papers out of a box and the throwing of a stones.