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The Mummy's Foot

Théophile Gautier

Book Overview: 

The Mummy's Foot -- the title story in this collection -- is a gothic tale, published in French as "Le Pied de Momie." It relates the adventures of a man who buys the 3,000 year old foot of Princess Hermonthis in a Parisian curio shop. Gautier has a fascination with Ancient Egypt as well as an obsession with mortality, decay, and the passage of time. When Princess Hermonthis takes him to her time and place of burial, he asks for her hand from her father, who flatly refuses because of his concern for durability, and the transience of the young man's existence compared to that of a three-thousand year old girl.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Will you not buy something from me to-day, sir? Here is a Malay kreese with a blade undulating like flame. Look at those grooves contrived for the blood to run along, those teeth set backward so as to tear out the entrails in withdrawing the weapon. It is a fine character of ferocious arm, and will look well in your collection. This two-handed sword is very beautiful. It is the work of Josepe de la Hera; and this colichemarde with its fenestrated guard—what a superb specimen of handicraft!'

'No; I have quite enough weapons and instruments of carnage. I want a small figure,—something which will suit me as a paper-weight, for I cannot endure those trumpery bronzes which the stationers sell, and which may be found on everybody's desk.'

The old gnome foraged among his ancient wares, and finally arranged before me some antique bronzes, so-called at least; fragments of malachite, little Hindoo or Chinese idols, a kind of poussah-toys in jade-s. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A man buys a mummified Egyptian princesses foot as a paper weight. Goes home then out with friends, home again and then the fun begins! It was a good story!loved the ending!

'The Mummy's Foot' is a Gothic type short story with a touch of humor. A Frenchman buys the mummified foot of Princess Hermonthis to use as a paperweight. Later he has dinner and a few drinks with friends. He returns home and retires to his bed chamber and goes on a long nocturnal journey.

An old fashioned ghost story that made me smile at the end.

This feels like a romantic comedy with horror undertones rather than a pure horror story, which honestly isn’t such a bad thing as I felt that to be the most unique aspect of the tale. The prose is pretty bad and long-winded, most of the story reminded me of that one chapter from Dorian Gray where h

I encountered this in a horror anthology. That was misleading.
This was so lacking in horror that it was actually... cute.

Ha ha ha !!!

¿quién compra un pie? D:

This story felt familiar, but I don't know where I heard or know of it prior to reading it. It was a lovely story, not at all scary, in fact it was quite endearing. Shame it was short as I would have liked to have read more about what lead the market tradesman to steal the princesses foot and how he

Another of Gautier's gothic short stories. In this one a man buys a foot of a mummy, belonging to an Egyptian princess, as a paperweight. This is similar to the theme figuring in other stories by the author. Is the happening reality of just a vision?

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