In Frank Stockton's short story "The Lady or the Tiger’’ (1884), a princess is forced to decide whether to bestow upon her lover the fate of death or of marriage to another woman.
Giving title to Saki's 1919 collection, his short story ‘‘The Toys of Peace’’ relates a man's attempts to convince his nephews to use their new toy, a model city, as an instrument of peace rather than of war.
Saki's ‘‘The Name-Day," collected in Beasts and Super-Beasts (1914) also takes as its locale Austria-Hungary of the Hapsburg Empire. It centers around a train deserted on a railway track as wolves cavort around in the woods outside.
‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’’ (1891), by Ambrose Bierce, is about a Civil War prisoner who is about to be hanged. The prisoner escapes and traverses an eerie landscape to make his way home—or does he?
Shirley Jackson's short story ‘‘The Lottery’’ (1948), a shocking allegory of barbarism and social sacrifices, recounts the events leading up to a small town's annual lottery.
O. Henry, a master of the trick ending, wrote ‘‘The Furnished Room’’ in 1904. This short story tells of a young man's futile search for his girlfriend and his eventual suicide.