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Daniil Kharms

Daniil Kharms was a brilliant Russian absurdist active in the 1920s and 1930s. I particularly like his extremely short stories:


An Encounter

On one occasion a man went off to work and on the way he met another man who, having bought a loaf of Polish bread, was on his way home.

And that's just about all there is to it.


Falling Old Ladies

Because of her excessive curiosity, an old lady fell out of the window and smashed into the ground.

Another old lady looked out of the window, staring down at the one who was smashed, but out of her excessive curiosity she also fell out of the window and smashed into the ground.

Then the third old lady fell out of the window, then the fourth did, then the fifth.

When the sixth old lady fell out of the window, I got bored watching them and went to Maltsev market where, they say, someone gave a woven shawl to a blind man.


Symphony No. 2

Anton Mikhailovich spat, said "yuck", spat again, said "yuck" again, spat again, said "yuck" again and left. To Hell with him. Instead, let me tell about Ilya Pavlovich.

Ilya Pavlovich was born in 1893 in Constantinople. When he was still a boy, they moved to St. Petersburg, and there he graduated from the German School on Kirchnaya Street. Then he worked in some shop; then he did something else; and when the Revolution began, he emigrated. Well, to Hell with him. Instead, let me tell about Anna Ignatievna.

But it is not so easy to tell about Anna Ignatievna. Firstly, I know almost nothing about her, and secondly, I have just fallen off my chair, and have forgotten what I was about to say. So let me instead tell about myself.

I am tall, fairly intelligent; I dress prudently and tastefully; I don't drink, I don't bet on horses, but I like ladies. And ladies don't mind me. They like when I go out with them. Serafima Izmaylovna has invited me home several times, and Zinaida Yakovlevna also said that she was always glad to see me. But I was involved in a funny incident with Marina Petrovna, which I would like to tell about. A quite ordinary thing, but rather amusing. Because of me, Marina Petrovna lost all her hair - got bald like a baby's bottom. It happened like this: Once I went over to visit Marina Petrovna, and bang! she lost all her hair. And that was that.