At the beginning of Sherman Alexie's "A Good Story," the narrator's mother complains that his stories are too sad. She asks for a story on a more uplifting topic, one which will demonstrate "that good things always happen to Indians too."
The story the narrator tells is a very short and comparatively uneventful one. Old Uncle Moses sits in front of the house he built fifty years before, thinking about how long it will survive after his death. He sees a boy called Arnold, who sometimes comes to visit him, running towards the house. Although Arnold is large and overweight, he runs with surprising grace, and Moses knows he is the best basketball player at his school. He reflects on "the strange, even improbable gifts a person can receive."
Arnold reveals that there is a school field trip to a baseball game that day, but he stayed behind because he wanted to visit Moses. The old man is touched by this act of "unplanned kindness," and tells Arnold that he has done a good thing. When Arnold asks for a story, Moses tells "this very story" that the narrator has just related to his mother. His mother shows her happiness by "singing an it-is-a-good-day song." She is pleased to have heard something so positive and innocent, in contrast to the narrator's usual dark subject matter. Her definition of a good story is not one that is exciting or technically skilful, but one which has an uplifting effect on her spirit.