I read this Fantasy short story decades ago. I read it in French in a collection. As in two of my previous questions, it was not a collection of Fantasy, just one Fantasy story among several mainstream stories by the same French author, probably of the 19th century. I just checked, he was neither Théophile Gautier, who wrote La cafetière nor Prosper Mérimée who wrote La Vénus d'Ille.

A rather rich man comes back to his mansion. He hears a lot of noise inside. He opens the door and all his furniture leaves his mansion by itself. He tries to stop a not too big piece of furniture, and fails. He goes to the police but in order not to pass for a madman, he just tell them his place was burglarised and all his furniture stolen. The police fails to find any of the stolen items.

He does not want to live in the empty mansion so he goes on a long trip. At some point of his travel (back in France, but not particularly close to his place), he enters an antiquarian shop. And he is flabbergasted to see all of his belongings there. He buys a few of his own objects, and goes to the police to tell them where he had found them. The police goes to the shop, but it is totally empty, and the owner has disappeared.

Shortly afterwards, a servant writes to him to tell him all his furniture is back. He does not know how that happened.

1 Answer 1


I'm going to take a punt and say this is Qui Sait? by Maupassant.

I cannot find an English translation, and my French is not good enough for me to read the original, but I found this article that describes the story as:

"Qui Sait?" ("Who Knows?") concerns the mysterious disappearance, presumably under their own power, of a whole household of valuable and pedigreed antique furniture during one night and its subsequent , inexplicable reappearance in an antique shop in another town, followed by its equally inexplicable appearance once more in its owner's chateau in its original condition and position. The mysterious, eccentric, and seemingly anthropomorphized conduct of the mobilier is ambiguously represented. It cannot be the hallucination of the narrator, for his servant recognizes when the furniture disappears and testifies to its reappearance. Whether it is an actuality or a mental aberation (at the end the narrator commits himself voluntarily to an asylum), the title begs the question: qui sait?


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