The Picture by Alexander Kuprin

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – The Picture – Contents

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One evening, at the house of a well-known literary man, after supper, there arose among the company an unusually heated discussion as to whether there could exist in this time of ours, so barren of exalted feelings, a lasting and unalterable friendship. Everyone said that such friendship did not exist; that there were many trials which the friendship of our days was quite unable to support. It was in the statement of the causes through which friendship was broken, that the company disagreed. One said that money stood in the way of friendship; another that woman stood in the way; a third, similarity of character; a fourth, the cares of family life, and so on.

When the talking and shouting had died down, and the people were tired, though nothing had been explained and no conclusion arrived at, one respected guest, who till that moment had not taken part in the discussion, suddenly broke silence and took up the conversation.

“Yes, gentlemen, all that you have said is both weighty and remarkable. Still I could give you an example from life where friendship triumphed over all the obstacles which you have mentioned, and remained inviolate.”

“And do you mean,” asked the host, “that this friendship endured to the grave?”

“No, not to the grave. But it was broken off for a special reason.”

“What sort of a reason?” asked the host.

“A very simple reason, and at the same time an astonishing one. The friendship was broken by St. Barbara.”

None of the company could understand how, in our commercial days, St. Barbara could sever a friendship, and they all begged Afanasy Silitch—for such was the respected man’s name—to explain his enigmatical words.

Afanasy Silitch smiled as he answered:

“There’s nothing enigmatical about the matter. It’s a simple and sad story, the story of the suffering of a sick heart. And if you would really like to hear, I’ll tell you about it at once with pleasure.”

Everyone prepared to listen, and Afanasy Silitch began his tale.

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Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryAlexander Kuprin – The Picture – Contents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

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