A very short story

Aleksei Panteleev

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It happened in the Crimea. One boy, a tourist, went to the sea to catch fish with his fishing rod. And there he came upon a very high, steep, and slippery shoreline. The boy began to climb down, however when he looked below he saw the sharp rocks and became frightened. He froze and couldn't budge from that spot. Neither too nor fro. He latched onto some prickly bush and squatted down, afraid to breathe.

At the same time in the sea below a Kolhoz fisherman was casting his line. In the boat with him was a girl, his daughter. She saw everything and understood that the boy was acting cowardly. She began to laugh and point her finger at him.

The boy became embarrassed, yet there was nothing that he could do with himself. He only began to act as though he was simply sitting like that and that he was very hot. He even took off his cap and began to wave it by his nose.

All of a sudden the wind whipped up, snatched the boy's fishing rod, and tossed it down below. The boy felt bad about the fishing rod and he tried to crawl down, but again to no avail. However, the girl saw all of this. She told her father who looked up and said something to her.

All of a sudden the girl jumped into the water and came up onto the shore. She grabbed the fishing rod and went back to the boat.

The boy became so enraged that he forgot his predicament and raced down.

"Hey! Give that back! That's my fishing rod!" he shrieked and grabbed the girl's hand.

"Here, take it, please," replied the girl. "I don't need your fishing rod. I did it on purpose, so you'd climb down."

The boy became amazed and said, "How did you know that I'd climb down?"

Oh, my father told me that. He said 'If he's a coward, then he's probably greedy too.'"


Translated by: Andrew Glikin-Gusinsky

Other translations by Andrew Glikin-Gusinsky:

The Alcoholic's Brother by Aleksei Panteleev
Hey, Driver by Vladimir Vysotsky
In The War by Vasily Grossman
In The Country by Vasily Grossman
The Resident by Vasily Grossman
Rafts by Vladimir Vysotskky
Pictures by Evgeny Zamyatin

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