Short Stories Author:Fiodor Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky Includes nine stories total, among which: — The Crocodile: — On the thirteenth of January of this present year, 1865, at half- past twelve in the day, Elena Ivanovna, the wife of my cultured friend Ivan Matveitch, who is a colleague in the same department, and may be said to be a distant relation of mine, too, expressed the desire to see the croco... more »dile now on view at a fixed charge in the Arcade. As Ivan Matveitch had already in his pocket his ticket for a tour abroad (not so much for the sake of his health as for the improvement of his mind), and was consequently free from his official duties and had nothing whatever to do that morning, he offered no objection to his wife's irresistible fancy, but was positively aflame with curiosity himself.
"A capital idea!" he said, with the utmost satisfaction. "We'll have a look at the crocodile! On the eve of visiting Europe it is as well to acquaint ourselves on the spot with its indigenous inhabitants." And with these words, taking his wife's arm, he set off with her at once for the Arcade. I joined them, as I usually do, being an intimate friend of the family. I have never seen Ivan Matveitch in a more agreeable frame of mind than he was on that memorable morning-how true it is that we know not beforehand the fate that awaits us! On entering the Arcade he was at once full of admiration for the splendours of the building and, when we reached the shop in which the monster lately arrived in Petersburg was being exhibited, he volunteered to pay the quarter-rouble for me to the crocodile owner - a thing which had never happened before. Walking into a little room, we observed that besides the crocodile there were in it parrots of the species known as cockatoo, and also a group of monkeys in a special case in a recess. Near the entrance, along the left wall stood a big tin tank that looked like a bath covered with a thin iron grating, filled with water to the depth of two inches. In this shallow pool was kept a huge crocodile, which lay like a log absolutely motionless and apparently deprived of all its faculties by our damp climate, so inhospitable to foreign visitors. This monster at first aroused no special interest in any one of us.
"So this is the crocodile!" said Elena Ivanovna, with a pathetic cadence of regret. "Why, I thought it was ... some- thing different."
In The Honest Thief we see a more mature writer grappling with the idea of guilt associated with a minor crime. The honest thief of the title is Yemalyan who may be the genesis for later characters who are unable to avoid crime that surrounds them
The Peasant Marey is a recollection from the author's youth which was written during a prison stay. The purpose is to show the nobility of the peasant class.
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man recounts Dostoevsky's final analysis of the human condition. Man is essentially good but can be corrupted bt reason and science.« less