Joy Williams, Argos—a new parable

I had waited for my absent master for twenty years and when he returned he came in the guise of a beggar, a mangy tramp, a bag of bones. This was calculation, this deception, the final triumphant wile of the wily Ulysses. I alone recognized him. I thumped my tail in joy though I hadn’t the strength to drag myself an inch toward him.

He did not acknowledge me. He did not place his hand on my bony head or stroke my withered flanks. A friendly touch from him would have meant the world to me of course. I had often dreamed of his return, which I had long associated with happiness. I cannot tell you why his wife and son did not take care of me those long years or why their servants were so cruel. There is much that animals do not understand…

Read more this week in Little Star Weekly

Joy Williams is the author of four novels and three collections of short stories, most recently Honored Guest, and has been a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize nominee. Her 99 Stories of God was recently released electronically as a Byliner original. “Argos” will appear next month in xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths, edited by Kate Bernheimer. (See our recent post.) We noticed a couple of years back that she kept showing up as a “favorite writer over forty” among The New Yorker’s “20 under 40.”


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