The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson


  After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Mr. Summers, holding his slip of paper in the air, said, “All right, fellows.” For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened. Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saying, “Who is it?,” “Who’s got it?,” “Is it the Dunbars?,” “Is it the Watsons?” Then the voices began to say, “It’s Hutchinson. It’s Bill,” “Bill Hutchinson’s got it.”

  “Go tell your father,” Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son.

  People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly, Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers, “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!”

  “Be a good sport, Tessie,” Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, “All of us took the same chance.”

  “Shut up, Tessie,” Bill Hutchinson said.

  “Well, everyone,” Mr. Summers said, “that was done pretty fast, and now we’ve got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time.” He consulted his next list. “Bill,” he said, “you draw for the Hutchinson family. You got any other households in the Hutchinsons?”

  “There’s Don and Eva,” Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. “Make them take their chance!”

  “Daughters draw with their husbands’ families, Tessie,” Mr. Summers said gently. “You know that as well as anyone else.”

  “It wasn’t fair,” Tessie said.

  “I guess not, Joe,” Bill Hutchinson said regretfully. “My daughter draws with her husband’s family, that’s only fair. And I’ve got no other family except the kids.”

  “Then, as far as drawing for families is concerned, it’s you,” Mr. Summers said in explanation, “and as far as drawing for households is concerned, that’s you, too. Right?”

  “Right,” Bill Hutchinson said.

  “How many kids, Bill?” Mr. Summers asked formally.

  “Three,” Bill Hutchinson said. “There’s Bill, Jr., and Nancy, and little Dave. And Tessie and me.”

  “All right, then,” Mr. Summers said. “Harry, you got their tickets back?”

  Mr. Graves nodded and held up the slips of paper. “Put them in the box, then,” Mr. Summers directed. “Take Bill’s and put it in.”

  “I think we ought to start over,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. “I tell you it wasn’t fair. You didn’t give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that.”

  Mr. Graves had selected the five slips and put them in the box, and he dropped all the papers but those onto the ground, where the breeze caught them and lifted them off.

  “Listen, everybody,” Mrs. Hutchinson was saying to the people around her.

  “Ready, Bill?” Mr. Summers asked, and Bill Hutchinson, with one quick glance around at his wife and children, nodded.

  “Remember,” Mr. Summers said, “take the slips and keep them folded until each person has taken one. Harry, you help little Dave.” Mr. Graves took the hand of the little boy, who came willingly with him up to the box. “Take a paper out of the box, Davy,” Mr. Summers said. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. “Take just one paper,” Mr. Summers said. “Harry, you hold it for him.” Mr. Graves took the child’s hand and removed the folded paper from the tight fist and held it while little Dave stood next to him and looked up at him wonderingly.

  “Nancy next,” Mr. Summers said. Nancy was twelve, and her school friends breathed heavily as she went forward, switching her skirt, and took a slip daintily from the box. “Bill, Jr.,” Mr. Summers said, and Billy, his face red and his feet overlarge, nearly knocked the box over as he got a paper out. “Tessie,” Mr. Summers said. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly, and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her.

  “Bill,” Mr. Summers said, and Bill Hutchinson reached into the box and felt around, bringing his hand out at last with the slip of paper in it.

  The crowd was quiet. A girl whispered, “I hope it’s not Nancy,” and the sound of the whisper reached the edges of the crowd.

  “It’s not the way it used to be,” Old Man Warner said clearly. “People ain’t the way they used to be.”

  “All right,” Mr. Summers said. “Open the papers. Harry, you open little Dave’s.”

  Mr. Graves opened the slip of paper and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank. Nancy and Bill, Jr., opened theirs at the same time, and both beamed and laughed, turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads.

  “Tessie,” Mr. Summers said. There was a pause, and then Mr. Summers looked at Bill Hutchinson, and Bill unfolded his paper and showed it. It was blank.

  “It’s Tessie,” Mr. Summers said, and his voice was hushed. “Show us her paper, Bill.”

  Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal-company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.

  “All right, folks,” Mr. Summers said. “Let’s finish quickly.”

  Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box. Mrs. Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. “Come on,” she said. “Hurry up.”

  Mrs. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said, gasping for breath, “I can’t run at all. You’ll have to go ahead and I’ll catch up with you.”

  The children had stones already, and someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.

  Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. “It isn’t fair,” she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head.

  Old Man Warner was saying, “Come on, come on, everyone.” Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

  “It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.



  …She set her foot upon the ship,

  No mariners could she behold,

  But the sails were o the taffetie,

  And the masts o the beaten gold.

  She had not sailed a league, a league,

  A league but barely three,

  When dismal grew his countenance,

  And drumlie grew his ee.

  They had not sailed a league, a league,

  A league but barely three,

  Until she espied his cloven foot,

  And she wept right bitterlie.

  ‘O hold your tongue of your weeping,’ says he,

  ‘Of your weeping now let me be,

  I will shew you how the lilies grow

  On the banks of Italy.’

  ‘O what hills are yon, yon pleasant hills,

  That the sun shines sweetly on?’

  ‘O yon are the hills of heaven,’ he said,

  ‘Where you will never win.’

  ‘O whaten a mountain is yon,’ she said,

  ‘All so dreary wi frost and snow?’

  ‘O yon is the mountain of hell,’ he cried,

  ‘Where you and I will go.’

  He strack the tap-mast wi his hand,

  The fore-mast wi his knee,

  And he brake that gallant ship in twain,

  And sank her in the sea.

  from James Harris, The Daemon Lover (Child Ballad No. 243)

  Farrar, Straus and Giroux

  18 West 18th Street, New York 10011

  Copyright © 1948, 1949 by Shirley Jackson

  Copyright renewed © 1
976, 1977 by Laurence Hyman, Barry Hyman, Mrs. Sarah Webster, and Mrs. Joanne Schnurer

  Introduction copyright © 2005 by A. M. Homes

  All rights reserved

  Published in 1949 by Farrar, Straus and Company

  Some of these stories have appeared in The American Mercury, Charm, Harper’s, The Hudson Review, Mademoiselle, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Story magazine, The Woman’s Home Companion, and The Yale Review and are reprinted by the kind permission of the editors. The stories “After You, My Dear Alphonse,” “Come Dance with Me in Ireland,” and “Afternoon in Linen” (1943), “A Fine Old Firm,” “Colloquy,” and “Trial by Combat” (1944), and “The Lottery” (1948), copyrighted in the respective years and renewals obtained by The New Yorker Magazine, Inc. (formerly The F.R. Publishing Corp.). “Charles” reprinted from Mademoiselle, July 1948. “Pillar of Salt” reprinted from Mademoiselle, October 1948. “Seven Types of Ambiguity” copyright 1948 by Story magazine. “The Renegade” copyright 1948 by Harper and Brothers. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.

  The author’s original title for this collection was The Lottery or, The Adventures of James Harris

  Library of Congress Control Number: 2004062825

  ISBN: 978-1-4299-5784-7



  Shirley Jackson, The Lottery and Other Stories

  (Series: # )




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