The Daily


1 Story of God: 71

June 6, 2013 | by


Photograph via Wikimedia Commons.

This week, we will be running a series of pieces from Joy Williams’s 99 Stories of God. First published in The Paris Review in 1968, Joy Williams has since appeared in our pages many times. 99 Stories of God is her first book of fiction in nearly a decade and was written, she has said, partly in an attempt to imitate the inimitable Thomas Bernhard, that “cranky genius of Austrian literature,” and his The Voice Imitator: 104 Stories.


A child was walking with a lion through a great fog.

“I’ve experienced death many times,” the lion said.

“Impossible,” the child said.

“It’s true, my experience of death does not include my own.”

“I’m glad.”

“I’ve had near-death experiences, however.”

“Quite a different matter,” the child said.

“Shall I tell you what it felt like?”

The fog was so thick, the child could not see the lion. Still, the fog was pleasant, as was their ascent through it.

“I was possessed, overwhelmed, consumed, filled up by a blessed, utterly unknown presence,” the lion said.

“Was it …” the child hesitated, searching for the right word “… consoling?”

“Yes,” the lion said. “An inexplicably consoling irony filled my heart.”

“Will I experience the same, do you think?”

“I don’t know,” the lion said, a little afraid for them both for the first time. “Perhaps not.”

“I would not know what irony is,” the child said.


Excerpted from 99 Stories of God. Used by permission of Byliner.



  1. Michael | June 7, 2013 at 10:06 am

    These pieces are wholly mediocre.

  2. Steven Wonder | July 4, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Michael, i conversed with your mother last tuesday (it’s been an ongoing thing), and she informed me that your mediocrity in childhood was only surpassed by the mediocrity you’ve been entertaining in adulthood. She didn’t elaborate on it- the food was too good (scallops) and there were many more interesting things to talk about (free-range chickens, is pastel in?, bike paths, what year Wham! disbanded). Point is: you shouldn’t judge joy williams; she’s your cousin in mediocrity, and she’s awesome. Also, you need to call your mom.

  3. Wonder Woman | June 30, 2016 at 7:56 am

    @StevenWonder You, sir, have written perhaps the best response to an obnoxious commentor in the history of the internet. Well done!

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