Tuesday, 31 May 2011

...of tragicomedy

On top of the rock, the lion raised his head and saw, right next to him, policewoman Katya, leaning over the front rail of one of the second-row boxes. She was looking straight at him. The leonine heart thumped once, twice, and then stopped. He was trembling all over. His fate was about to be decided. Already the spear was flying towards him... Ouch! - it struck him in the side. Now he had to fall. But suppose he again fell the wrong way and ruined everything? He had never felt so terrified in all his life - it was far worse than when he used to climb out of the trenches...
The audience had already noticed that something wasn't right: the mortally wounded lion was standing stock-still on top of the rock and gazing down. The front rows heard the producer's terrible whisper:
'Fall, damn you, fall!'
Then they all saw a most bizarre thing: the lion raised its right paw, quickly crossed itself, and plumped down off the rock like a stone...
There was a moment of numbed silence, then a roar of laughter exploded in the auditorium like a grenade. Policewoman Katya was laughing so hard that she was in tears. The slain lion buried its muzzle in its paws and sobbed.

[The Lion, Zamyatin, Y. I.]

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