My Deal Me In deck turned up clubs this week, so I read a Chekhov story. As it happened, I reread one of the first Chekhov stories my husband ever showed me. I hadn’t remembered the title and, by the time I had remembered I’d already read this one, I couldn’t stop. Like pushing a loose tooth with your tongue, you know?
by Anton Chekhov
Vanka is a young village boy, apprenticed to a shoemaker in Moscow. While the family is in church on Christmas Eve, he writes a letter to his grandfather back home, begging his grandfather to come fetch him.
During the course of writing the letter, he remembers the village and his grandfather, and the text of the letter expresses more of his memories and feelings. He obviously loved life at home. His memories are bound up with nature and intimate knowledge of the characters of all the people and animals of the village. All he has to say about Moscow is about the shops, goods, and his mistreatment at the hands of his master and the workmen.
He mails the letter and goes to bed full of hope. But we, being wiser in the ways of the world, realize two things: He didn’t know he had to stamp the letter, and he addressed it “To grandfather in the village”.
You’re killing me, Dr. Chekhov! Killing me!
Even though I’ve told you about the story, it’s worth reading for yourself. The characterization of one of Grandfather’s dogs is worth the price of the entire volume and most of the heartbreak.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Write about a home you remember from childhood.