While definitions change, have exceptions, and are only approximate, expectations nonetheless guide readers. A simple formula like short stories are artistically designed, brief prose fictions has advantages of clarity and inclusiveness in dealing with the ancient genre. It says nothing about the aesthetic value of individual examples, however. For this reason, I shall deal with masterpieces, which share the most important traits of brevity and artistry. Both traits are particularly adept at energizing the reader’s creative role.