Ernest Hemingway’s short story “A Day’s Wait” is only three pages, but three pages of Hemingway prose is well worth the read.
A nine-year old boy comes down with influenza. In overhearing the doctor tell his father that his temperature is 102, he silently waits to die. The boy had heard a friend of his in France indicate that a temperature over 44 means a person will die. Of course, the one little bit of information the boy didn’t get was the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit.
The story is told from the perspective of the boy’s father who doesn’t realize until the end of the day what the boy is thinking. Two paragraphs describe the father going hunting on a wintry day with his Irish Setter-vintage Hemingway. A certain kind of bravery exists in the boy’s “stiff upper lip” in the face of death, even though it’s slightly misguided – vintage Hemingway, also.