The sole of wit (Tolstoy's delicious "Alyosha the Pot")
Something about short forms in the water this week. Colleen's working on a novella, Harlan Ellison's Angry Candy is on my nightstand, my son turned me on to flash fiction, and a friend just sent me a link to "Alyosha the Pot" by Leo Tolstoy, one of the short stories in a collection called Family Happiness, freshly reminted by Harper Perennial.
Alyosha was a younger brother. He was nicknamed “the Pot”, because once, when his mother sent him with a pot of milk for the deacon's wife, he stumbled and broke it. His mother thrashed him soundly, and the children in the village began to tease him, calling him “the Pot”. Alyosha the Pot: and this is how he got his nickname.
Alyosha was a skinny little fellow, lop-eared – his ears stuck out like wings – and with a large nose. The children always teased him about this, too, saying, “Alyosha has a nose like a gourd on a pole.”
Read the entire short but unbearably sweet story here at the Globe and Mail.