For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Return”

Andrey Platonov


Petya glanced across at his sister and began to scold her: “What are you up to now? Why you have you got Uncle Semyon’s glasses on?”

“I’m not looking through them, I’m looking over them.”

“Oh really!... I can see what you’re doing! You’ll ruin your eyesight and go blind, then you’ll be on a pension and be a burden for the rest of your life. Take the glasses off this minute, I tell you, and stop darning those mittens, mother will darn them, or I’ll do them myself as soon as I have a moment. Get out your exercise book and practise your writing — goodness knows when you last did any!”

“Does Natsya go to school then?” asked the father.

Their mother replied that Natsya was not yet big enough for school, but that Petya made her do lessons every day; he had brought her an exercise book, and she practised drawing the strokes for letters. Petya was also teaching his sister how to do sums, adding and subtracting pumpkin seeds in front of her, while Lyubov Vasilyevna was herself teaching Nastya to read.