Saturday, April 9


"Sometimes I remember it was a boy, and sometimes it was a girl. And when he was born, I wrapped him up in cambric and lace, and put pink ribbons on him, strewed him with flowers, got him ready, said prayers over him. I took him away unchristened and carried him through the forest, and I was frightened, and what I weep for most is that I had a baby and I never had a husband."

"Perhaps you had one?" Shatov queried cautiously.

"You're absurd, Shatushka, with your reflections. Perhaps I had, but what's the use of my having had one if it is just the same as though I hadn't. There's an easy riddle for you, guess it," she smiled.

"Where did you take your baby?"

"I took it to the pond," she said with a sigh.

Shatov nudged me again: "And what if you never had a baby and all this is only a wild dream?"

"You ask me a hard question, Shatushka," she answered dreamily, without a trace of surprise at such a question. "I can't tell you anything about that. Perhaps I hadn't: I think it's only your curiosity. I shan't leave off crying for him; anyway, I couldn't have dreamt it ...." And big tears glittered in her eyes.

-- Fyodor Dostoevsky The Possessed
Translated by Constance Garnett