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Daniil Kharms
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Fate of a Professor's Wife, The

Once a certain professor ate something which didn't agree with him and he began to vomit.
His wife came up to him, saying: -- What is it?
But the professor replied: -- It's nothing. -- His wife retreated again.
The professor reclined on the divan, had a little lie down, felt rested and went off to work. At work there was a surprise for him: his salary had been docked; instead of 650 roubles, he only had 500. The professor ran hither and thither -- but to no avail. The professor went to the Director, and the Director threw hills out. The professor went to the accountant, and the accountant said: -- Apply to the Director. -- The professor got on a train and went off to Moscow.
On the way he suddenly went down with flu. He arrived in Moscow and couldn't get out on to the platform.
They put the professor on a stretcher and carried him off to hospital.
The professor lay in hospital no more than four days and then died.
The professor's body was cremated, the ashes were placed in an urn and sent off to his wife.
So the professor's wife was sitting drinking coffee. Suddenly a ring. What's that? -- A parcel for you.
The professor's wife was really pleased; smiling all over her face, she thrust a tip into the postman's hand and was soon unwrapping the parcel. She looked in the parcel and saw an urn of ashes, with a message: 'Herewith all that remains of your spouse.'
The professor's wife didn't understand a thing; she shook the urn, held it up to the light, read the message six times -- finally she worked out what was afoot and was terribly upset.
The professor's wife was very upset, cried for three hours and then went off to inter the urn of ashes. She wrapped the urn in a newspaper and took it to the First Five-Year Plan Garden, formerly the Tavricheskiy.
The professor's wife chose the most out-of-the-way path and was just intending to bury the urn, when suddenly a watchman came along.
-- Hey! -- shouted the watchman. -- What are you doing here? -- The professor's wife was frightened and said: -- I just wanted to catch some frogs in this jar.
-- Well -- said the watchman -- that's all right, only watch it, and keep off the grass.
When the watchman had gone, the professor's wife buried the urn, trod the earth down around it and went off for a stroll round the gardens.
In the gardens, she was accosted by some sailor -- Come on, let's go for a little sleep -- he said.
She replied: -- Why should one sleep in the daytime? -- But he stuck to his guns: sleep and more sleep.
And the professor's wife really did feel like sleeping.
She walked along the streets and she felt sleepy. People were running all around her in blue, or in green -- and she just felt sleepy.
So she walked and slept. And she dreamed that Lev Tolstoy was coming towards her, holding a chamber-pot in his hands. She asked him: -- What's that, then? -- and he pointed to the chamber-pot, saying: -- Here, I've really done something and now I'm taking it to show the whole world. Let everyone see it -- he said.
The professor's wife also had a look and saw that it seemed no longer to be Tolstoy, but a shed, and in the shed was a hen.
The professor's wife tried to catch the hen, but the hen hid under a divan, from which it looked out, now in the form of a rabbit.
The professor's wife crawled under the divan after the rabbit and woke up.
She woke and looked around: she really was lying under a divan.
The professor's wife crawled out from under the divan -- and saw her own room. And there stood the table with her undrunk coffee. On the table lay the message -- Herewith all that remains of your spouse.
The professor's wife shed a few more tears and sat down to drink up her cold coffee.
Suddenly a ring. What's that? Some people walk in and say -- Let's go.
-- Where? -- asked the professor's wife.
-- To the lunatic asylum -- they reply.
The professor's wife began to shout and to dig in her heels, but the people grabbed her and took her off to the lunatic asylum.
And there, on a bunk in a lunatic asylum, sits a completely normal professor's wife, holding a fishing rod and fishing on the floor for some invisible fish or other.
This professor's wife is merely a pitiful example of how many unfortunates there are in life who do not occupy in life the position that they ought to occupy.