Title: The Fish
Date Read: 18 February 2009
Word Count: 1384
Briefly: Waist-deep in water, Gerassim the carpenter is holding on for dear life to a fish he’s caught with his bare hands but can’t disentangle from the roots of the submerged willows. At first only ‘assisted’ by his hapless colleague Lubim, others soon join the fray and attempt to pull the fish from the water.
Afterthoughts: Where else but in Chekhov’s world can one meet “a tall gaunt peasant, with a curly red head and a face overgrown with hair”, a “hunchback with a triangular face and narrow Chinese-looking eye” and a shepherd described as “a decrepit old man, with one eye and a crooked mouth”? ) I used to look upon those who chortled at ‘high brow’ Russian literature, as perhaps being somewhat pretentious, but reading Chekhov I’m no different and I often find myself giggling like a schoolgirl with a crush ). I did with this story. It’s funny and entertaining from start to finish, and as a consequence it gains the perfect score!
Notable Quote: “The hunchback puffs out his cheeks, holds his breath, opens his eyes wide, and apparently has already got his fingers in the gills, but at that moment the twigs to which he is holding on with his left hand break, and losing his balance he plops into the water! Eddies race away from the bank as though frightened, and little bubbles come up from the spot where he has fallen in. The hunchback swims out and, snorting, clutches at the twigs.”
*Story read as part of my Checkin’ Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.