Nowadays / Untitled / Petrakov / Tumbling Old Women / The Meeting | Daniil Kharms, 1905-42

Nowadays / Untitled / Petrakov / Tumbling Old Women / The Meeting | Daniil Kharms, 1905-42
Daniil Kharms, 1905-42


What They Sell in Stores Nowadays

Koratygin came to see Tikakeyev but did not find him at home.
Meanwhile, Tikakeyev was at the store buying sugar, meat and cucumbers.
Koratygin milled around in Tikakeyev’s doorway and was about ready to write him a note when he saw
Tikakeyev himself, carrying a plastic satchel in his hands. Koratygin saw Tikakeyev and yelled:
“And I’ve been waiting here for a whole hour!”
“That’s not true,” said Tikakeyev, “I’ve only been out 25 minutes.”
“Well that I don’t know,” said Koratygin, “but I’ve been here an hour, that much I do know.”
“Don’t lie,” said Tikakeyev. “It’s shameful.”
“My good sir,” said Koratygin, “you should use some discretion in choosing your words.”
“I think…,” started Tikakeyev, but Koratygin interrupted:
“If you think…,” he said, but then Tikakeyev interrupted Koratygin, saying:
“You’re one to talk!”
These words so enraged Koratygin that he pinched one nostril with his finger and blew his other nostril at Tikakeyev.
Then Tikakeyev snatched the biggest cucumber from his satchel and hit Koratygin over the head.
Koratygin clasped his hands to his head, fell over and died.
What big cucumbers they sell in stores nowadays!


I was born in the reeds. Like a mouse. My mother gave birth to me and put me in the water. And I swam away. Some kind of fish with four whiskers on its nose circled around me. I started crying. And the fish started crying. Suddenly we noticed that some porridge was floating atop the water. We ate the porridge and began to laugh. We were very happy, and we swam along with the current until we met a crayfish. It was an ancient, great crayfish; it held an ax in its claws. A naked frog followed swimming behind the crayfish. “Why are you always naked,” asked the crayfish, “aren’t you ashamed?” – “There’s nothing shameful in it,” answered the frog. “Why should we be ashamed of our fine bodies, given us by nature, when we are not ashamed of the vile acts that we ourselves perpetrate.” – “Your words are true,” said the crayfish. “And I do not know how to answer you. I suggest we ask a human, because humans are smarter than we. We are only smart in the fables that man writes about us, i.e. it means once more that it is the human that is smart and not us.” But then the crayfish noticed me and said: “And we don’t even have to swim anywhere to find him – because here he is, a human.” The crayfish swam over to me and asked: “Should one be embarrassed of one’s own body? You, human, answer us!” – “I am a human and I will answer you: One should not be embarrassed of one’s own body.”

An Incident Involving Petrakov

So, once Petrakov wanted to go to sleep but, lying down, missed
the bed. He hit the floor so hard he lay there unable to get up.

So Petrakov mustered his remaining strength and got on his
hands and knees. But his strength abandoned him and he fell
on his stomach again, and he just lies there.

Petrakov lay on the floor about five hours.
At first he just lay there, but then he fell asleep.

Sleep refreshed Petrakov’s strength. He woke up invigorated,
got up, walked around the room and cautiously lay down on the
bed. “Well,” he thought, “now I’ll get some sleep.”
But now he’s not feeling very sleepy. So Petrakov keeps turning
in his bed and can’t fall asleep.

And that’s it, more or less.

Tumbling Old Women

Because of her excessive curiosity, one old woman
tumbled out her window, fell and shattered to pieces.

Another old woman leaned out to look at the one who’d
shattered but, out of excessive curiosity, also tumbled out
her window, fell and shattered to pieces.

Then a third old woman tumbled from her window,
and a fourth, and a fifth.

When the sixth old woman tumbled out of her window,
I got sick of watching them and walked over to the Maltsev
Market where, they say, a blind man had been given a knit

The Meeting

Now, one day a man went to work and on the way
he met another man, who, having bought a loaf of
Polish bread, was heading back home where he came from.

And that’s it, more or less.

Daniil Kharms, 1905-42, Today I Wrote Nothing: Selected Writings 


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