Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Twenty-Six Men and a Girl." Maxim Gorki.

“We were twenty-six men, twenty-six living machines cooped up in a dark hole of a basement where from morn till night we kneaded dough, making pretzels….” We had no sun. But there was Tanya. The twenty-six laborers made her their idol. She was beautiful and they worshipped her. Then came the bragging soldier and a bet that he could not seduce her. He did.

The twenty-six men berate her. She walks proudly through their ranks. “Then we too shuffled back to our damp stony dungeon. As of old, the sun never peered through our window, and Tanya came never more!....”

Fifty Great European Short Stories. Ed. Edward and Elizabeth Huberman. New York: Bantam Books. 1971.

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