3:21 pm - Monday March 19, 4418

The Lion and The Sun-by Anton Chekhov-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name: The Lion and The Sun

Written by: Anton Chekhov

Category:Children, Fiction, Short Stories

Page 1:

N one of the towns lying on this side of the Urals a rumour was afloat that a Persian magnate, called Rahat-Helam, was staying for a few days in the town and putting up at the “Japan Hotel.” This rumour made no impression whatever upon the inhabitants; a Persian had arrived, well, so be it. Only Stepan Ivanovitch Kutsyn, the mayor of the town, hearing of the arrival of the oriental gentleman from the secretary of the Town Hall, grew thoughtful and inquired:

“Where is he going?”

“To Paris or to London, I believe.”

“H’m. . . . Then he is a big-wig, I suppose?”

“The devil only knows.”

As he went home from the Town Hall and had his dinner, the mayor sank into thought again, and this time he went on thinking till the evening. The arrival of the distinguished Persian greatly intrigued him. It seemed to him that fate itself had sent him this Rahat-Helam, and that a favourable opportunity had come at last for realising his passionate, secretly cherished dream. Kutsyn had already two medals, and the Stanislav of the third degree, the badge of the Red Cross, and the badge of the Society of Saving from Drowning, and in addition to these he had made himself a little gold gun crossed by a guitar, and this ornament, hung from a buttonhole in his uniform, looked in the distance like something special, and delightfully resembled a badge of distinction. It is well known that the more orders and medals you have the more you want — and the mayor had long been desirous of receiving the Persian order of The Lion and the Sun; he desired it passionately, madly. He knew very well that there was no need to fight, or to subscribe to an asylum, or to serve on committees to obtain this order; all that was needed was a favourable opportunity. And now it seemed to him that this opportunity had come.

At noon on the following day he put on his chain and all his badges of distinction and went to the ‘Japan.’ Destiny favoured him. When he entered the distinguished Persian’s apartment the latter was alone and doing nothing. Rahat-Helam, an enormous Asiatic, with a long nose like the beak of a snipe, with prominent eyes, and with a fez on his head, was sitting on the floor rummaging in his portmanteau.

“I beg you to excuse my disturbing you,” began Kutsyn, smiling. “I have the honour to introduce myself, the hereditary, honourable citizen and cavalier, Stepan Ivanovitch Kutsyn, mayor of this town. I regard it as my duty to honour, in the person of your Highness, so to say, the representative of a friendly and neighbourly state.”

The Persian turned and muttered something in very bad French, that sounded like tapping a board with a piece of wood.

“The frontiers of Persia” — Kutsyn continued the greeting he had previously learned by heart — “are in close contact with the borders of our spacious fatherland, and therefore mutual sympathies impel me, so to speak, to express my solidarity with you.”

The illustrious Persian got up and again muttered something in a wooden tongue. Kutsyn, who knew no foreign language, shook his head to show that he did not understand.

“Well, how am I to talk to him?” he thought. “It would be a good thing to send for an interpreter at once, but it is a delicate matter, I can’t talk before witnesses. The interpreter would be chattering all over the town afterwards.”

And Kutsyn tried to recall the foreign words he had picked up from the newspapers.

“I am the mayor of the town,” he muttered. “That is the lord mayor . . . municipalais . . . Vwee? Kompreney?”

He wanted to express his social position in words or in gesture, and did not know how. A picture hanging on the wall with an inscription in large letters, “The Town of Venice,” helped him out of his difficulties. He pointed with his finger at the town, then at his own head, and in that way obtained, as he imagined, the phrase: “I am the head of the town.” The Persian did not understand, but he gave a smile, and said:

Filed in: Anton Chekhov, Children, Fiction, Short Stories

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply