“Chekhov Shorts” : A Chameleon

Title: A Chameleon
Date Read: 09 November 2008
Word Count: 1262
Briefly: Police superintendent Otchumyelov is walking across the empty market square with one of his policemen when he hears a ruckus coming from the direction of Pitchugin’s timber-yard. The goldsmith Hryukin emerges chasing a small puppy which he catches before returning to a gathering crowd. After questioning from Otchumyelov it would appear that the puppy has bitten Hryukin and he calls for retribution. However before sentence is passed on the puppy, Otchumyelov wishes to discover the dog’s owner
Afterthoughts: This is one of the best Chekhov stories I’ve read so far. It’s short in length but succulent in content, with a great plot and a perfect pace. Pure Chekhov gold!
Notable Quote: “He sees the aforementioned man in the unbuttoned waistcoat standing close by the gate of the timber-yard, holding his right hand in the air and displaying a bleeding finger to the crowd. On his half-drunken face there is plainly written: “I’ll pay you out, you rogue!” and indeed the very finger has the look of a flag of victory. In this man Otchumyelov recognises Hryukin, the goldsmith. The culprit who has caused the sensation, a white borzoy puppy with a sharp muzzle and a yellow patch on her back, is sitting on the ground with her fore-paws outstretched in the middle of the crowd, trembling all over. There is an expression of misery and terror in her tearful eyes. “

Rating: ★★★★★

*Story read as part of my Checking Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).