The Elephant by Alexander Kuprin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – The Elephant – Contents

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The little girl was unwell. Every day the doctor came to see her, Dr. Michael Petrovitch, whom she had known long, long ago. And sometimes he brought with him two other doctors whom she didn’t know. They turned the little girl over on to her back and then on to her stomach, listened to something, putting an ear against her body, pulled down her under eyelids and looked at them. They seemed very important people, they had stern faces, and they spoke to one another in a language the little girl did not understand.

Afterwards they went out from the nursery into the drawing-room, where mother sat waiting for them. The most important doctor—the tall one with grey hair and gold eye-glasses—talked earnestly to her for a long time. The door was not shut, and the little girl lying on her bed could see and hear all. There was much that she didn’t understand, but she knew the talk was about her. Mother looked up at the doctor with large, tired, tear-filled eyes. When the doctors went away the chief one said loudly:

“The most important thing is—don’t let her be dull. Give in to all her whims.”

“Ah, doctor, but she doesn’t want anything!”

“Well, I don’t know … think what she used to like before she was ill. Toys … something nice to eat….”

“No, no, doctor; she doesn’t want anything.

“Well, try and tempt her with something…. No matter what it is…. I give you my word that if you can only make her laugh and enjoy herself, it would be better than any medicine. You must understand that your daughter’s illness is indifference to life, and nothing more…. Good morning, madam!”

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Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – The Elephant – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

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