‘Y Condemniedig’ by Kate Roberts

This makes me cry every time. Kate Roberts is one of the most famous Welsh-language writers, particularly known for her short stories. Her work is often based in the North Wales community where she grew up and this story is no exception. It follows a quarry worker who can no longer work because of a debilitating illness. While he convalesces at home, he ‘discovers’ the life that Laura (his wife) has led while he was at work: he observes her baking bread, cleaning the house, doing the laundry. This new appreciation of the domestic life leads him to fall in love with his wife all over again, making the ending all the more heart-breaking.

First published 1931. Collected in Goreuon Storiau Kate Roberts, Gwasg Gee, 1997. Available in English translation by Joseph P. Clancy as ‘The Condemned’ in The World of Kate Roberts: Selected Stories 1925-1981, Temple University Press, 1991