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The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson is a short story in which the main character buys a bottle with an imp inside that grants wishes. However, the bottle is cursed; if the holder dies bearing it, his or her soul is forfeit to hell.
Note: This story may be more appropriate for 10-12th grades. A story that may be more suited to middle or early high school is The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs.
- The Devil and Tom Walker, a short story by Washington Irving, also explores the topic of selling one's soul to the devil.
- The Devil and Daniel Webster, a short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, explores the topic of selling one's soul to the devil, also.
- All three stories are based on the German legend of Faust, of which the best known version was written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. You can purchase a copy of the book here.
Build Student Writing Confidence & Stamina All Year Long!
Not only will you have the first five to 20 minutes of class taken care of, you can also extend each mode of writing into a longer text by guiding students through the writing process. Students will build writing stamina and confidence throughout the year.
New! Curated Short Stories Library Available for Busy English Teachers
Looking for easy-to-access, classroom-tested short stories, video/audio adaptations, paired texts, and ideas for implementing them in your classroom? Engage students in reading and analyzing short stories to help them build their confidence and stamina for reading the passages in your state test -- and so they'll see themselves as capable readers!