Title: An Incident
Date Read: 26th June 2012
Briefly: The birth of kittens at their home, fills Vanya (6) and his sister, Nina (4), with glee. It soon becomes apparent however, that not everyone is the household is as taken with the new arrivals.
Afterthoughts: For the most part this is a rich and warm tale from Chekhov, which takes a look at the wonder of newborn pets, as seen through the eyes of children. It does however not have such a warm ending, and without giving away spoilers it’s not as much a story for cat lovers as one might first feel. A good story nonetheless, and one that comes with an unexpected yet typical Chekhovian twist.
Notable Quote: Under the bench in the kitchen there stands a small box, the one in which Stepan brings coal when he lights the fire. The cat is peeping out of the box. There is an expression of extreme exhaustion on her grey face; her green eyes, with their narrow black pupils, have a languid, sentimental look. From her face it is clear that the only thing lacking to complete her happiness is the presence in the box of “him,” the father of her children, to whom she had abandoned herself so recklessly! She wants to mew, and opens her mouth wide, but nothing but a hiss comes from her throat; the squealing of the kittens is audible.
*Story read as part of my Checkin’ Off The Chekhov Shorts reading challenge.