‘The Undertaker’ by Alexander Pushkin

Pushkin, Alexander

The Undertaker by Alexander Pushkin, 1831

The magic trick:

Setting up a classic be-careful-what-you-wish-for scenario

It’s October, so that must mean it’s time for another scary story month at the SSMT. This is a classic be-careful-what-you-wish-for story. Adrian Prokhorov, the undertaker, is offended by his neighbors at a party. He is insecure about and defensive of his profession. He can’t toast those for whom he works as the other partygoers do. So, he suggests, I’ll invite all my customers to my house for a party and then you’ll see…

And there you go. That’s your setup. Of course, things do not go well when he gets his wish. The scene awaiting him at his house is incredibly creepy. A perfect start to your Halloween month. And that’s quite a trick on Pushkin’s part.

The selection:

With these words the corpse stretched out his bony arms toward him; but Adrian, collecting all his strength, shrieked and pushed him away. Pyotr Petrovich staggered, fell and crumbled to pieces.

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