Arkady Averchenko: Eleven elephants

Stryapukhin grabbed my hand and quickly said: “Which of the two ears is ringing? Heh! Heh! Quickly!!

“Whose ear is ringing?” I said, surprised.

“Mine! Hoot. Lord! Mine, mine!! Quickly! Tell me!”

I listened carefully. “Which? I really can’t hear…Can’t you figure it out by yourself?”

“You have to guess, understand? Guess! You’re so clueless!”

“Well it’s not hard to guess,” I agreed. “If you had many ears, then it would be a different matter. But there are only two – that’s nothing. Is it your left one?”

“Correct! Good man!”

I smirked. “You bet! I can do that and much more…Why did you need me to guess?”

“Why else? It’s a superstitious belief…I thought of something. If you guess it correctly, it means my wish will come true”

“What did you wish for?”

“I can’t tell you. If I do it won’t come true.”

“How do you know that?”

“It’s just a belief.”

“Ok then, goodbye,” I grumbled, slightly offended. “I’m going home.”

“Leaving already? What time is it now?”

“I can’t tell you that,” I stubbornly grinned.

“Why not?”

“It’s a superstitious belief”

His face showed unrest. “Is it really?”

“Of course…And it’s the truest one. It brings bad luck.”

“You know, I have responded many times to the question, ‘What time is it?’”

“You see?” I smiled sullenly. “Blame yourself. Something bad is sure to happen”

He set to thinking: “Wait, wait…It is true! Yesterday my hat was stolen in the theater.”

“Was it made out of astrakhan?” I asked.

“No, seal fur”

“Then, it’s ok.”

“Why?”

“It’s just a belief. The loss of a seal fur hat brings happiness to the home.”

He didn’t even bother to ask me who’s home – his or the thief’s. ...

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