Posted in Short Stories

William Trevor: The Virgin’s Gift (Deal Me In 2018 – Week 52)

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He begged that his melancholy might be lifted, that the confusion which had come in the night might be lightened with revelation. These were the days of the year when his spirits were most joyful, when each hour that passed brought closer the celebration of the Saviour’s birth. Why had this honoring of a season been so brutally upset?

During his 59 years, Michael, in William Trevor’s short story “The Virgin’s Gift”, has been visited by the Virgin Mary three times in dreams. For the first time, he was a young man and she called him away from his parents and their farm to the abbey to become a monk. For the second time, he was called away from his abbey to solitude on an island off the coast of Ireland. It’s a solitude he grows to love:

Such entanglements of truth and falsity – and of good and evil, God and the devil – Michael dwelt upon in the hermitage he had created, while the seasons changed and the days of his life one by one extinguished.

For a third and final time, Michael is called away from a place in which he has grown comfortable. He doesn’t understand but finds some comfort by comparing his own journey of confusion to the Virgin Mary’s in the Christmas story.

His journey only makes sense at the end of it.


Merry Christmas everyone! I usually include a Christmas story in my Deal Me In list just for the fun of seeing when it shows up. Because I forgot to do that for 2018, I decided that I would choose one for my final Wild Card thinking that it would fall somewhere close to the end of the year. But the Deal Me In fates saved it for the very last week so I’m able to actually post it on Christmas Day! “The Virgin’s Gift” is included in William Trevor: Selected Stories. My Deal Me In list can be seen here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

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