The Flood

Cover image for


Author: Émile Zola
Language: English
Wordcount: 8,460 / 30 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 90.4
LoC Category: PQ
Downloads: 1,827 7733

k him by the crupper, and we saw him, beaten, abandon himself.

Then we gave way for the first time. We felt the need of tears. Our hands stretched out to those dear animals that were being borne away, we lamented, giving vent to the tears and the sobs that we had suppressed. Ah! what ruin! The harvests destroyed, the cattle drowned, our fortunes changed in a few hours! God was not just! We had done nothing against Him, and He was taking everything from us! I shook my fist at the horizon. I spoke of our walk that afternoon, of our meadows, our wheat and vines that we had found so full of promise. It was all a lie, then! The sun lied when he sank, so sweet and calm, in the midst of the evening's serenity.

The water was still rising. Pierre, who was watching it, cried:

"Louis, we must look out! The water is up to the window!"

That warning snatched us from our spell of despair. I was once more myself. Shrugging my shoulders, I said:

"Money is nothing. As long as we are all saved, there need be no r


Average Rating of 5 from 4 reviews: *****
Lisa Carr

A well-translated, powerful and relentless story of a French farmer satisfied with his crops on a beautiful day, with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren at the farmhouse when the river overflows its banks and slowly destroys people, animals, and homes.
The descriptions are beautiful and horrible. The story reminded me of Poe's Descent Into The Maelstrom.


This story was first published in 1880, the original titel is: 'L'Inondation'. This free Kindle version has 315 locations (=app. 30 pages) and can be read in half an hour or so. This story has 5 short chapters, the book has an active table of contents.

The story is told from the perspective of a 70-year old farmer. He is happy, well-to-do, proud of what he has accomplished in life, surrounded by family. He and his family have dinner together, but then it starts to rain. The river near to the farm breaks its bank and the flood starts. First the animals are swept away, then the servants. He and the members of his family try to stay alive by fleeing to the attick first and as the water keeps rising to the roof. But the water keeps on getting higher and then the members of his family are swept away, one after the other. The fear, anguish and desparation are described it such a way that it touches you. This is not a happy story, but is is so wellwritten and touching that I do recommend reading it (but not as a bedtimestory, this story is so tragic that you probably won't be able to fall asleep for awhile).

Emile Zola (1840-1902) was a French author who is known for his naturalistic style.


When I read this, I wasn't prepared for the sheer force of it. The absolute power of nature against which we are powerless. Wonderfully written, the symbolism rich and beautiful even in its devastation.


An excellent short story of a french farmer who revels in his family and his prosperity until he his brutally remineded of how helpless humankind is the face of nature. Excellent!!

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