The only two survivors of a shipwreck are stranded on a tiny island.
(from Short Story International, #51)
Things are looking grim for Hampshire and Carter: not much fresh water or shelter or hope for rescue. The former leans on his wits, the latter prays. Which one do you think proves most useful in the hopeless situation? What does it matter how at peace you are about your death? Why would a higher power save them from drowning in a wreck just to let them die on a barren island? These are the undercurrent questions conjured up by this sharp, short parable. Works as a desperate litle adventure story, too.
I couldn’t find any mention of this story on the web. But here’s a bit of O Brother, Where Art Thou? which deals with some of the same themes:
Delmar: A miracle! It was a miracle!
Everett: Aw, don’t be ignorant, Delmar. I told you they was gonna flood this valley.
Delmar: That ain’t it!
Pete: We prayed to God and he pitied us!
Everett: It just never fails. Once again you two hayseeds are showin’ how much you want for intellect. There’s a perfectly scientific explanation for what just happened.
Pete: That ain’t the tune you were singin’ back there at the gallows!
Everett: Well any human being will cast about in a moment of stress. No, the fact is, they’re flooding this valley so they can hydro-electric up the whole durned state. Yessir, the South is gonna change. Everything’s gonna be put on electricity and run on a payin’ basis. Out with the old spiritual mumbo-jumbo, the superstitions and the backward ways. We’re gonna see a brave new world where they run everyone a wire and hook us all up to a grid. Yessir, a veritable age of reason — like the one they had in France — and not a moment too soon.
Mr. Sturges, an Australian born in 1916, is also wanting for significant web presence. I guess this is unrelated to him. This too. Here’s to all the A.E. Sturges of the world.
Adam Arcuragi, “1981 (Or Waving At You As We Part At Light Speed Will Look Like I’m Standing Still)”