#138 The Cattle-Dealers

Find today’s 7162 word story here: http://www.chekhovshorts.com/stories/138.html

Travis review:

This is a long story about a father and son hauling eight vans of cattle across Russia and the bribes they must pay to the railroad stationmasters, guards and workers to get from one stop to the next. I personally felt offended reading this, but for Malahin, the older cattle man, the more graft he pays, the better his mood becomes it seems. The story almost felt like a reporter was riding with the two men and talking notes. We see how different railroad workers hold up travel with their little modicum of power for a quick bribe. Something that I understand still happens today in parts of Russia. I thought that the story would end in tragedy with the cattle (bullocks) dying of hunger or dehydration before they made it to the final destination, but the manage to leave their railcars as they “…stagger and stumble as though they were walking on slippery ice.” The trip was a success, though it felt brutal. Chekhov completes the journey with a successful transaction. I have to admit I felt a little let down that nothing overly dramatic happened, but I did enjoy the time capsule view of hauling animals by train across Russia. 

Rating: 6


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