Lunchtime read: Russian Short Stories

Last day of the Russian Short Stories and it ends with a well known author capable of sowing seeds of thought in a very limited number of pages.

The Embroidered TowelMikhail Bulgakov
Before becoming a writer Bulgakov was a doctor and worked through the First World War and started as a novelist covering the experiences he know about. This is a tale of a doctor in a regional town that is green around the gills and fears having to do any major surgery. A farmer comes in with his daughter who has fallen into a threshing machine and the doctor has to carry out an amputation. He never expects her to live and so is more bold than he might have been. After she has recovered she hobbles into his office on her father’s arm and hands him a towel with a cockerel embroidered onto it, something he initially refuses but then keeps until it falls apart.

The thing to note here is that the red cockerel is a warning sign of danger in Russia and the story is set in 1917 but when it appeared in print the editor changed it to 1916 so not to appear to be some sort of warning about the revolution. Those little nuggets were gleamed from the introduction to the story.

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