Trunk, TheA thin-necked man climbed into a trunk, shut the lid behind him and began gasping for breath.
-- So -- said the thin-necked man, gasping for breath -- I am gasping for breath in this trunk because I've got a thin neck. The lid of the trunk is down and isn't letting any air in. I shall be gasping for breath, but all the same I won't open the lid of the trunk. I shall be gradually dying. I shall see the struggle of life and death. The battle which takes place will be an unnatural one, with the chances equal, because under natural conditions death triumphs, and life, doomed to death, merely struggles in vain with the enemy, clinging until the last minute to a futile hope. But in the struggle which will take place now, life will be cognizant of the means of victory: to achieve this life will have to force my hands to open the lid of the trunk. We shall see who will win! Only there's an awful smell of naphthalene. If life triumphs I shall powder all the things in the trunk with makhorka.* So, it has begun: I can't breathe any more. I'm finished, that's clear. There's no saving me now! And there are no lofty thoughts in my head. I'm suffocating.
-- Hey! What's that then? Something just happened but I can't make out exactly what. I saw something or heard something . . .
-- Hey! Something happened again. My God! There's nothing to breathe. It seems I'm dying . . .
-- And now what's that then? Why am I singing? My neck seems to be hurting . . . But where's the trunk? Why can I see all the things in the room? And I seem to be lying on the floor. But where's the trunk?
The man with the thin neck got up from the floor and looked round. The trunk was nowhere around. On the chairs and on the bed lay things which had been pulled out of the trunk, but the trunk was nowhere around.
The thin-necked man said: -- So, life has triumphed over death by means unknown to me.