The Knife - A Stephen Crane Story
"The Knife" is a story about temptation, a near betrayal, and then a recovery - a cycle of danger and redemption, told with Crane's ironic touch. A black man with a penchant for fun jokes with the white owner of a watermelon patch. They both enjoy the racial stereotyping image of the black man being entranced by watermelons. Well, Peter Washington has a moment of such entrancement. He tells his friend Alek Williams and they work themselves into a fit of envy about those watermelons. That night they both lay for the watermelons, waiting for Si Bryant, the owner, to turn out his lights and go to bed. Peter gets into the patch first; sees Alek coming from a different way, and jumps him, pretending to be protecting the patch. Peter hauls Alek off, but eventually lets him go. Peter forgets his knife. Bryant catches up with Alek and discovers Alek knows whose knife is in the patch. Alek almost gives his friend away, but, at the last moment, blames someone in another town. They both live for another day. A bitter sweet story of pettiness by Bryant, ignoble behavior by Peter, but Alek, the older wiser man, rises above it and protects his friend using Bryant's prejudices against him in thinking he would give away his friend. As with all Simply audiobooks, we provide an commentary in an afterword for those interested. Keywords: Stephen Crane, short stories, Whilomville, Henry Johnson.