In Passion Week by Chekhov #DealMeIn2019

My Deal Me In deck turned up clubs this week, and clubs means Chekhov. Yay!!!

The story wasn’t ghastly for once, although he does ghastly like nobody’s business. No, this one was superficially meaningless but actually funny.

In Passion Week

by Anton Chekhov

An eight-year-old boy is sent to confession during Holy Week in preparation for Easter. He gets into a fight over who goes first, loses, goes in, gets absolved, goes to bed early because he can’t eat after confession, goes to church the next morning. The end.

But you know the Seven Deadly Sins? Greed, Sloth, Envy, Anger, Lust, Pride, and Gluttony. Our boy exhibits all of them, both before and after confession.

BUT, the story also begins with his watching this: “In the gutters there is the merry gurgling and foaming of dirty water, in which the sunbeams do not disdain to bathe.” The merry, dirty, sunbeam-filled water carries “Chips, straws, the husks of sunflower seeds” to the river, the sea, the ocean.

I don’t know about you, but I suspect I’m meant to see a metaphor for reality touched by the divine carrying souls through life to a grand beyond.

Besides the subtle humor of the divinely touched boy helpless in the grip of his gurgling foam and the slapstick of our boy and his rival breaking their candles in a fight for who gets to confess first, I found it a deeply touching story.

Highly recommended.

Deal Me In logo above designed by Mannomoi at follow her on Twitter at
If YOU need a short story to read, I have free ones here on my Free Reads page. I also have four collections for 99 cents each linked from my Short Stories page.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Someone confesses something.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “In Passion Week by Chekhov #DealMeIn2019

  1. Jay

    January 14, 2019 at 8:31am

    I love the Chekhov stories where he gives us a child’s point of view (though you’re right, many of them are particularly ghastly if a child is involved.)

    Speaking of The Seven Deadly Sins, have you seen the short story anthology by that name? A local “Great Books Foundation” reading group that I attended occasionally worked their way through it the past year or so. What a great idea for an anthology. I think they even published a sequel, or a virtues one or something…

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      January 14, 2019 at 8:59am

      I’ve read The Seven Deadly Sins of Science Fiction, which is the same concept, but with science fiction stories. I’ll have to look that one up. Have you seen the old Bedazzled, the 1967 one with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore? The devil is complaining about the sins he has working for him. “Can’t get good sins anymore,” he says. “It’s the wages.”

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