On gorgeous flowered plates with wide black rims lay thin slices of
salmon and soused eel; a slab of over-ripe cheese on a heavy wooden platter,
and in a silver bowl packed around with snow - caviare. Beside the plates
stood delicate glasses and three crystal decanters of different-coloured
vodkas. All these objects were on a small marble table, handily placed
beside the huge carved oak sideboard which shone with glass and silver. In
the middle of the room was a table, heavy as a gravestone and covered with a
white tablecloth set with two places, napkins folded into the shape of papal
tiaras, and three dark bottles.
Zina brought in a covered silver dish beneath which something bubbled.
The dish gave off such a smell that the dog's mouth immediately filled with
saliva. The gardens of Semiramis! he thought as he thumped the floor with
'Bring it here,' ordered Philip Philipovich greedily. 'I beg you,
Doctor Bormenthal, leave the caviare alone. And if you want a piece of good
advice, don't touch the English vodka but drink the ordinary Russian stuff.'
The handsome Bormenthal - who had taken off his white coat and was
wearing a smart black suit - shrugged his broad shoulders, smirked politely
and poured out a glass of clear vodka.
'What make is it?' he enquired.
'Bless you, my dear fellow,' replied his host, 'it's pure alcohol.
Darya Petrovna makes the most excellent homemade vodka.'
'But surely, Philip Philipovich, everybody says that 30-degree vodka is
quite good enough.'
'Vodka should be at least 40 degrees, not 30 - that's firstly,' Philip
Philipovich interrupted him didactically, 'and secondly - God knows what
muck they make into vodka nowadays. What do you think they use?'
'Anything they like,' said the other doctor firmly.
'I quite agree,' said Philip Philipovich and hurled the contents of his
glass down his throat in one gulp. 'Ah . . . m'm . . . Doctor Bormenthal -
please drink that at once and if you ask me what it is, I'm your enemy for
life. "From Granada to Seville . . ." '
With these words he speared something like a little piece of black
bread on his silver fish-fork. Bormenthal followed his example. Philip
Philipovich's eyes shone.
'Not bad, eh?' asked Philip Philipovich, chewing. 'Is it? Tell me,
'It's excellent,' replied the doctor sincerely.
'So I should think . . . Kindly note, Ivan Arnoldovich, that the only
people who eat cold hors d'oeuvres nowadays are the few remaining landlords
who haven't had their throats cut. Anybody with a spark of self-respect
takes his hors d'oeuvres hot. And of all the hot hors d'oeuvres in Moscow
this is the best. Once they used to do them magnificently at the Slavyansky
Bazaar restaurant. There, you can have some too.'
'If you feed a dog at table,' said a woman's voice, 'you won't get him
out of here afterwards for love or money.'
'I don't mind. The poor thing's hungry.' On the point of his fork
Pliilip Philipovich handed the dog a tit-bit, which the animal took with the
dexterity of a conjuror. The professor then threw the fork with a clatter
into the slop-basin.
The dishes now steamed with an odour of lobster; the dog sat in the
shadow of the tablecloth with the look of a sentry by a powder magazine as
Philip Philipovich, thrusting the end of a thick napkin into his collar,
'Food, Ivan Arnoldovich, is a subtle thing. One must know how to eat,
yet just think - most people don't know how to eat at all. One must not only
know what to eat, but when and how.' (Philip Philipovich waved his fork
meaningfully.) 'And what to say while you're eating. Yes, my dear sir. If
you care about your digestion, my advice is - don't talk about bolshevism or
medicine at table. And, God forbid - never read Soviet newspapers before
'M'mm . . . But there are no other newspapers.'
'In that case don't read any at all. Do you know I once made thirty
tests in my clinic. And what do you think? The patients who never read
newspapers felt excellent. Those whom I specially made read Pravda all lost
'H'm . . .' rejoined Bormenthal with interest, turning gently pink from
the soup and the wine.
'And not only did they lose weight. Their knee reflexes were retarded,
they lost appetite and exhibited general depression.'
'Good heavens . . .'
'Yes, my dear sir. But listen to me - I'm talking about medicine!'
Leaning back, Philip Philipovich rang the bell and Zina appeared
through the cerise portiere. The dog was given a thick, white piece of
sturgeon, which he did not like, then immediately afterwards a chunk of
underdone roast beef. When he had gulped it down the dog suddenly felt that
he wanted to sleep and could not bear the sight of any more food. Strange
feeling, he thought, blinking his heavy eyelids, it's as if my eyes won't
look at food any longer. As for smoking after they've eaten - that's crazy.
The dining-room was filling with unpleasant blue smoke. The animal
dozed, its head on its forepaws. 'Saint Julien is a very decent wine,' the
dog heard sleepily, 'but there's none of it to be had any more.'
A dull mutter of voices in chorus, muffled by the ceiling and carpets,
was heard coming from above and to one side.
Philip Philipovich rang for Zina. 'Zina my dear, what's that noise?'
'They're having another general meeting, Philip Philipovich,' replied
'What, again?' exclaimed Philip Philipovich mournfully. 'Well, this is
the end of this house. I'll have to go away -but where to? I can see exactly
what'll happen. First of all there'll be community singing in the evening,
then the pipes will freeze in the lavatories, then the central heating
boiler will blow up and so on. This is the end.'
'Philip Philipovich worries himself to death,' said Zina with a smile
as she cleared away a pile of plates.
'How can I help it?' exploded Philip Philipovich. 'Don't you know what
this house used to be like?'
'You take too black a view of things, Philip Philipovich,' objected the
handsome Bormenthal. 'There is a considerable change for the better now.'
'My dear fellow, you know me, don't you? I am a man of facts, a man who
observes. I'm the enemy of unsupported hypotheses. And I'm known as such not
only in Russia but in Europe too. If I say something, that means that it is
based on some fact from which I draw my conclusions. Now there's a fact for
you: there is a hat-stand and a rack for boots and galoshes in this house.'
'Interesting . . .'
Galoshes - hell. Who cares about galoshes, thought the dog, but he's a
great fellow all the same.
'Yes, a rack for galoshes. I have been living in this house since 1903.
And from then until March 1917 there was not one case - let me underline in
red pencil not one case - of a single pair of galoshes disappearing from
that rack even when the front door was open. There are, kindly note, twelve
flats in this house and a constant stream of people coming to my
consulting-rooms. One fine day in March 1917 all the galoshes disappeared,
including two pairs of mine, three walking sticks, an overcoat and the
porter's samovar. And since then the rack has ceased to exist. And I won't
mention the boiler. The rule apparently is - once a social revolution takes
place there's no need to stoke the boiler. But I ask you: why, when this
whole business started, should everybody suddenly start clumping up and down
the marble staircase in dirty galoshes and felt boots? Why must we now keep
our galoshes under lock and key? And put a soldier on guard over them to
prevent them from being stolen? Why has the carpet been removed from the
front staircase? Did Marx forbid people to keep their staircases carpeted?
Did Karl Marx say anywhere that the front door of No. 2 Kalabukhov House in
Prechistenka Street must be boarded up so that people have to go round and
come in by the back door? WTiat good does it do anybody? Why can't the
proletarians leave their galoshes downstairs instead of dirtying the
'But the proletarians don't have any galoshes, Philip Philipovich,'
stammered the doctor.
'Nothing of the sort!' replied Philip Philipovich in a voice of
thunder, and poured himself a glass of wine. 'H'mm ... I don't approve of
liqueurs after dinner. They weigh on the digestion and are bad for the liver
. . . Nothing of the sort! The proletarians do have galoshes now and those
galoshes are - mine! The very ones that vanished in the spring of 1917. Who
removed them, you may ask? Did I remove them? Impossible. The bourgeois
Sablin?' (Philip Philipovich pointed upwards to the ceiling.) 'The very
idea's laughable. Polozov, the sugar manufacturer?' (Philip Philipovich
pointed to one side.) 'Never! You see? But if they'd only take them off when
they come up the staircase!' (Philip Philipovich started to turn purple.)
'Why on earth do they have to remove the flowers from the landing? Why does
the electricity, which to the best of my recollection has only failed twice
in the past twenty years, now go out regularly once a month? Statistics,
Doctor Bormenthal, are terrible things. You who know my latest work must
realise that better than anybody.' 'The place is going to ruin, Philip
'No,' countered Philip Philipovich quite firmly. 'No. You must first of
all refrain, my dear Ivan Arnoldovich, from using that word. It's a mirage,
a vapour, a fiction,' Philip Philipovich spread out his short fingers,
producing a double shadow like two skulls on the tablecloth. 'What do you
mean by ruin? An old woman with a broomstick? A witch who smashes all the
windows and puts out all the lights? No such thing. What do you mean by that
word?' Philip Philipovich angrily enquired of an unfortunate cardboard duck
hanging upside down by the sideboard, then answered the question himself.
'I'll tell you what it is: if instead of operating every evening I were to
start a glee club in my apartment, that would mean that I was on the road to
ruin. If when I go to the lavatory I don't pee, if you'll excuse the
expression, into the bowl but on to the floor instead and if Zina and Darya
Petrovna were to do the same thing, the lavatory would be ruined. Ruin,
therefore, is not caused by lavatories but it's something that starts in
people's heads. So when these clowns start shouting "Stop the ruin!" - I
laugh!' (Philip Philipovich's face became so distorted that the doctor's
mouth fell open.) 'I swear to you, I find it laughable! Every one of them
needs to hit himself on the back of the head and then when he has knocked
all the hallucinations out of himself and gets on with sweeping out
backyards - which is his real job - all this "ruin" will automatically
disappear. You can't serve two gods! You can't sweep the dirt out of the
tram tracks and settle the fate of the Spanish beggars at the same time! No
one can ever manage it, doctor - and above all it can't be done by people
who are two hundred years behind the rest of Europe and who so far can't
even manage to do up their own fly-buttons properly!'
Philip Philipovich had worked himself up into a frenzy. His hawk-like
nostrils were dilated. Fortified by his ample dinner he thundered like an
ancient prophet and his hair shone like a silver halo.
His words sounded to the sleepy dog like a dull subterranean rumble. At
first he dreamed uneasily that the owl with its stupid yellow eyes had
hopped off its branch, then he dreamed about the vile face of that cook in
his dirty white cap, then of Philip Philipovich's dashing moustaches sharply
lit by electric light from the lampshade. The dreamy sleigh-ride came to an
end as the mangled piece of roast beef, floating in gravy, stewed away in
the dog's stomach.
He could earn plenty of money by talking at political meetings, the dog
thought sleepily. That was a great speech. Still, he's rolling in money
'A policeman!' shouted Philip Philipovich. 'A policeman!'
Policeman? Ggrrr ... - something snapped inside the dog's brain.
'Yes, a policeman! Nothing else will do. Doesn't matter whether he
wears a number or a red cap. A policeman should be posted alongside every
person in the country with the job of moderating the vocal outbursts of our
honest citizenry. You talk about ruin. I tell you, doctor, that nothing will
change for the better in this house, or in any other house for that matter,
until you can make these people stop talking claptrap! As soon as they put
an end to this mad chorus the situation will automatically change for the
'You sound like a counter-revolutionary, Philip Philipovich,' said the
doctor jokingly. 'I hope to God nobody hears you.'
'I'm doing no harm,' Philip Philipovich objected heatedly. 'Nothing
counter-revolutionary in all that. Incidentally, that's a word I simply
can't tolerate. What the devil is it supposed to mean, anyway? Nobody knows.
That's why I say there's nothing counter-revolutionary in what I say. It's
full of sound sense and a lifetime of experience.'
At this point Philip Philipovich pulled the end of his luxurious napkin
out of his collar. Crumpling it up he laid it beside his unfinished glass of
wine. Bormenthal at once rose and thanked his host.
'Just a minute, doctor,' Philip Philipovich stopped him and took a
wallet out of his hip pocket. He frowned, counted out some white 10-rouble
notes and handed them to the doctor, saying, 'You are due for 40 roubles
today, Ivan Arnoldovich. There you are.'
Still in slight pain from his dog-bite, the doctor thanked him and
blushed as he stuffed the money into his coat pocket.
'Do you need me this evening, Philip Philipovich?' he enquired.
'No thanks, my dear fellow. We shan't be doing anything this evening.
For one thing the rabbit has died and for another Aida is on at the Bolshoi
this evening. It's a long time since I heard it. I love it ... Do you
remember that duet? Pom-pom-ti-pom . . .'
'How do you find time for it, Philip Philipovich?' asked the doctor
'One can find time for everything if one is never in a hurry,'
explained his host didactically. 'Of course if I started going to meetings
and carolling like a nightingale all day long, I'd never find time to go
anywhere' - the repeater in Philip Philipovich's pocket struck its celestial
chimes as he pressed the button - 'It starts at nine. I'll go in time for
the second act. I believe in the division of labour. The Bolshoi's job is to
sing, mine's to operate. That's how things should be. Then there'd be none
of this "ruin" . . . Look, Ivan Arnoldovich, you must go and take a careful
look: as soon as he's properly dead, take him off the table, put him
straight into nutritive fluid and bring him to me!'
'Don't worry, Philip Philipovich, the pathologist has promised me.'
'Excellent. Meanwhile, we'll examine this neurotic street arab of ours
and stitch him up. I want his flank to heal . . .'
He's worrying about me, thought the dog, good for him. Now I know what
he is. He's the wizard, the magician, the sorcerer out of those dogs' fairy
tales ... I can't have dreamed it all. Or have I? (The dog shuddered in his
sleep.) Any minute now I'll wake up and there'll be nothing here. No
silk-shaded lamp, no warmth, no food. Back on the streets, back in the cold,
the frozen asphalt, hunger, evil-minded humans . . . the factory canteen,
the snow . . . God, it will be unbearable . . .!
But none of that happened. It was the freezing doorway which vanished
like a bad dream and never came back.
Clearly the country was not yet in a total state of ruin. In spite of
it the grey accordion-shaped radiators under the windows filled with heat
twice a day and warmth flowed in waves through the whole apartment. The dog
had obviously drawn the winning ticket in the dogs' lottery. Never less than
twice a day his eyes filled with tears of gratitude towards the sage of
Prechistenka. Every mirror in the living-room or the hall reflected a
good-looking, successful dog.
I am handsome. Perhaps I'm really a dog prince, living incognito, mused
the dog as he watched the shaggy, coffee-coloured dog with the smug
expression strolling about in the mirrored distance. I wouldn't be surprised
if my grandmother didn't have an affair with a labrador. Now that I look at
my muzzle, I see there's a white patch on it. I wonder how it got there.
Philip Philipovich is a man of great taste -he wouldn't just pick up any
In two weeks the dog ate as much as in his previous six weeks on the
street. Only by weight, of course. In quality the food at the professor's
apartment was incomparable. Apart from the fact that Darya Petrovna bought a
heap of meat-scraps for 18 kopecks every day at the Smolensk market, there
was dinner every evening in the dining-room at seven o'clock, at which the
dog was always present despite protests from the elegant Zina. It was during
these meals that Philip Philipovich acquired his final title to divinity.
The dog stood on his hind legs and nibbled his jacket, the dog learned to
recognise Philip Philipovich's ring at the door - two loud, abrupt
proprietorial pushes on the bell - and would run barking out into the hall.
The master was enveloped in a dark brown fox-fur coat, which glittered with
millions of snowflakes and smelled of mandarin oranges, cigars, perfume,
lemons, petrol, eau de cologne and cloth, and his voice, like a megaphone,
boomed all through the apartment.
'Why did you ruin the owl, you little monkey? Was the owl doing you any
harm? Was it, now? Why did you smash the portrait of Professor Mechnikov?'
'He needs at least one good whipping, Philip Philipovich,' said Zina
indignantly, 'or he'll become completely spoiled. Just look what he's done
to your galoshes.'
'No one is to be beaten,' said Philip Philipovich heatedly, 'remember
that once and for all. Animals and people can only be influenced by
persuasion. Have you given him his meat today?'
'Lord, he's eaten us out of house and home. What a question, Philip
Philipovich. He eats so much I'm surprised he doesn't burst.'
'Fine. It's good for him . . . what harm did the owl do you, you little
Ow-ow, whined the dog, crawling on his belly and splaying out his paws.
The dog was forcefully dragged by the scruff of his neck through the
hall and into the study. He whined, snapped, clawed at the carpet and slid
along on his rump as if he were doing a circus act. In the middle of the
study floor lay the glass-eyed owl. From its disembowelled stomach flowed a
stream of red rags that smelled of mothballs. Scattered on the desk were the
fragments of a portrait.
'I purposely didn't clear it up so that you could take a good look,'
said Zina distractedly. 'Look - he jumped up on to the table, the little
brute, and then - bang! - he had the owl by the tail. Before I knew what was
happening he had torn it to pieces. Rub his nose in the owl, Philip
Philipovich, so that he learns not to spoil things.'
Then the howling began. Clawing at the carpet, the dog was dragged over
to have his nose rubbed in the owl. He wept bitter tears and thought: Beat
me, do what you like, but don't throw me out.
'Send the owl to the taxidermist at once. There's 8 roubles, and 16
kopecks for the tram-fare, go down to Murat's and buy him a good collar and
Next day the dog was given a wide, shiny collar. As soon as he saw
himself in the mirror he was very upset, put his tail between his legs and
disappeared into the bathroom, where he planned to pull the collar off
against a box or a basket. Soon, however, the dog realised that he was
simply a fool. Zina took him walking on the lead along Obukhov Street. The
dog trotted along like a prisoner under arrest, burning with shame, but as
he walked along Prechistenka Street as far as the church of Christ the
Saviour he soon realised exactly what a collar means in life. Mad envy
burned in the eyes of every dog he met and at Myortvy Street a shaggy
mongrel with a docked tail barked at him that he was a 'master's pet' and a
'lackey'. As they crossed the tram tracks a policeman looked at the collar
with approval and respect. When they returned home the most amazing thing of
all happened - with his own hands Fyodor the porter opened the front door to
admit Sharik and Zina, remarking to Zina as he did so: 'What a sight he was
when Philip Philipovich brought him in. And now look how fat he is.'
'So he should be - he eats enough for six,' said the beautiful Zina,
rosy-cheeked from the cold.
A collar's just like a briefcase, the dog smiled to himself. Wagging
his tail, he climbed up to the mezzanine like a gentleman.
Once having appreciated the proper value of a collar, the dog made his
first visit to the supreme paradise from which hitherto he had been
categorically barred - the realm of the cook, Darya Petrovna. Two square
inches of Darya's kitchen was worth more than all the rest of the flat.
Every day flames roared and flashed in the tiled, black-leaded stove.
Delicious crackling sounds came from the oven. Tortured by perpetual heat
and unquenchable passion, Darya Petrovna's face was a constant livid purple,
slimy and greasy. In the neat coils over her ears and in the blonde bun on
the back of her head flashed twenty-two imitation diamonds. Golden saucepans
hung on hooks round the walls, the whole kitchen seethed with smells, while
covered pans bubbled and hissed . . .
'Get out!' screamed Darya Petrovna. 'Get out, you no-good little thief!
Get out of here at once or I'll be after you with the poker!'
Hey, why all the barking? signalled the dog pathetically with his eyes.
What d'you mean - thief? Haven't you noticed my new collar? He backed
towards the door, his muzzle raised appealingly towards her.
The dog Sharik possessed some secret which enabled him to win people's
hearts. Two days later he was stretched out beside the coal-scuttle watching
Darya Petrovna at work. With a thin sharp knife she cut off the heads and
claws of a flock of helpless grouse, then like a merciless executioner
scooped the guts out of the fowls, stripped the flesh from the bones and put
it into the mincer. Sharik meanwhile gnawed a grouse's head. Darya Petrovna
fished lumps of soaking bread out of a bowl of milk, mixed them on a board
with the minced meat, poured cream over the whole mixture, sprinkled it with
salt and kneaded it into cutlets. The stove was roaring like a furnace, the
frying pan sizzled, popped and bubbled. The oven door swung open with a
roar, revealing a terrifying inferno of heaving, crackling flame.
In the evening the fiery furnace subsided and above the curtain
half-way up the kitchen window hung the dense, ominous night sky of
Prechistenka Street with its single star. The kitchen floor was damp, the
saucepans shone with a dull, mysterious glow and on the table was a
fireman's cap. Sharik lay on the warm stove, stretched out like a lion above
a gateway, and with one ear cocked in curiosity he watched through the
half-open door of Zina's and Darya Petrovna's room as an excited,
black-moustached man in a broad leather belt embraced Darya Petrovna. All
her face, except her powdered nose, glowed with agony and passion. A streak
of light lay across a picture of a man with a black moustache and beard,
from which hung a little Easter loaf.
'Don't go too far,' muttered Darya Petrovna in the half-darkness. 'Stop
it! Zina will be back soon. What's the matter with you - have you been
'I don't need rejuvenating,' croaked the black-moustached fireman
hoarsely, scarcely able to control himself. 'You're so passionate!'
In the evenings the sage of Prechistenka Street retired behind his
thick blinds and if there was no A'ida at the Bolshoi Theatre and no meeting
of the All-Russian Surgical Society, then the great man would settle down in
a deep armchair in his study. There were no ceiling lights; the only light
came from a green-shaded lamp on the desk. Sharik lay on the carpet in the
shadows, unable to take his eyes off the horrors that lined the room.
Human brains floated in a disgustingly acrid, murky liquid in glass
jars. On his forearms, bared to the elbow, the great man wore red rubber
globes as his blunt, slippery fingers delved into the convoluted grey
matter. Now and again he would pick up a small glistening knife and calmly
slice off a spongey yellow chunk of brain.
'. . . "to the banks of the sa-acred Nile . . .," ' he hummed quietly,
licking his lips as he remembered the gilded auditorium of the Bolshoi
It was the time of evening when the central heating was at its warmest.
The heat from it floated up to the ceiling, from there dispersing all over
the room. In the dog's fur the warmth wakened the last flea, which had
somehow managed to escape Philip Philipovich's comb. The carpets deadened
all sound in the flat. Then, from far away, came the sound of the front door
Zina's gone out to the cinema, thought the dog, and I suppose we'll
have supper when she gets home. Something tells me that it's veal chops
On the morning of that terrible day Sharik had felt a sense of
foreboding, which had made him suddenly break into a howl and he had eaten
his breakfast - half a bowl of porridge and yesterday's mutton-bone -
without the least relish. Bored, he went padding up and down the hall,
whining at his own reflection. The rest of the morning, after Zina had taken
him for his walk along the avenue, passed normally. There were no patients
that day as it was Tuesday - a day when as we all know there are no
consulting hours. The master was in his study, several large books with
coloured pictures spread out in front of him on the desk. It was nearly
supper-time. The dog was slightly cheered by the news from the kitchen that
the second course tonight was turkey. As he was walking down the passage the
dog heard the startling, unexpected noise of Philip Philipovich's telephone
bell ringing. Philip Philipovich picked up the receiver, listened and
suddenly became very excited.
'Excellent,' he was heard saying, 'bring it round at once, at once!'
Bustling about, he rang for Zina and ordered supper to be served
immediately: 'Supper! Supper!'
Immediately there was a clatter of plates in the dining-room and Zina
ran in, pursued by the voice of Darya Petrovna grumbling that the turkey was
not ready yet. Again the dog felt a tremor of anxiety.
I don't like it when there's a commotion in the house, he mused . . .
and no sooner had the thought entered his head than the commotion took on an
even more disagreeable nature. This was largely due to the appearance of
Doctor Bormenthal, who brought with him an evil-smelling trunk and without
waiting to remove his coat started heaving it down the corridor into the
consulting-room. Philip Philipovich put down his unfinished cup of coffee,
which normally he would never do, and ran out to meet Bormenthal, another
quite untypical thing for him to do.
'When did he die?' he cried.
'Three hours ago,' replied Bormenthal, his snow-covered hat still on
his head as he unstrapped the trunk.
Who's died? wondered the dog sullenly and disagreeably as he slunk
under the table. I can't bear it when they dash about the room like that.
'Out of my way, animal! Hurry, hurry, hurry!' cried Philip Philipovich.
It seemed to the dog that the master was ringing every bell at once.
Zina ran in. 'Zina! Tell Darya Petrovna to take over the telephone and not
to let anybody in. I need you here. Doctor Bormenthal - please hurry!'
I don't like this, scowled the dog, offended, and wandered off round
the apartment. All the bustle, it seemed, was confined to the
consulting-room. Zina suddenly appeared in a white coat like a shroud and
began running back and forth between the consulting-room and the kitchen.
Isn't it time I had my supper? They seem to have forgotten about me,
thought the dog. He at once received an unpleasant surprise.
'Don't give Sharik anything to eat,' boomed the order from the
'How am I to keep an eye on him?'
'Lock him up!'
Sharik was enticed into the bathroom and locked in.
Beasts, thought Sharik as he sat in the semi-darkness of the bathroom.
What an outrage ... In an odd frame of mind, half resentful, half depressed,
he spent about a quarter of an hour in the bathroom. He felt irritated and
Right. This means the end of your galoshes tomorrow, Philip
Philipovich, he thought. You've already had to buy two new pairs. Now you're
going to have to buy another. That'll teach you to lock up dogs.
Suddenly a violent thought crossed his mind. Instantly and clearly he
remembered a scene from his earliest youth -a huge sunny courtyard near the
Preobrazhensky Gate, slivers of sunlight reflected in broken bottles,
brick-rubble, and a free world of stray dogs.
No, it's no use. I could never leave this place now. Why pretend? mused
the dog, with a sniff. I've got used to this life. I'm a gentleman's dog
now, an intelligent being, I've tasted better things. Anyhow, what is
freedom? Vapour, mirage, fiction . . . democratic rubbish . . .
Then the gloom of the bathroom began to frighten him and he howled.
Hurling himself at the door, he started scratching it.
Ow-ow . . ., the noise echoed round the apartment like someone shouting
into a barrel.
I'll tear that owl to pieces again, thought the dog, furious but
impotent. Then he felt weak and lay down. When he got up his coat suddenly
stood up on end, as he had an eerie feeling that a horrible, wolfish pair of
eyes was staring at him from the bath.
In the midst of his agony the door opened. The dog went out, shook
himself, and made gloomily for the kitchen, but Zina firmly dragged him by
the collar into the consulting-room. The dog felt a sudden chill around his
What do they want me for? he wondered suspiciously. My side has healed
up - I don't get it. Sliding along on his paws over the slippery parquet, he
was pulled into the consulting-room. There he was immediately shocked by the
unusually brilliant lighting. A white globe on the ceiling shone so brightly
that it hurt his eyes. In the white glare stood the high priest, humming
through his teeth something about the sacred Nile. The only way of
recognising him as Philip Philipovich was a vague smell. His smoothed-back
grey hair was hidden under a white cap, making him look as if he were
dressed up as a patriarch; the divine figure was all in white and over the
white, like a stole, he wore a narrow rubber apron. His hands were in black
The other doctor was also there. The long table was fully unfolded, a
small square box placed beside it on a shining stand.
The dog hated the other doctor more than anyone else and more than ever
because of the look in his eyes. Usually frank and bold, they now flickered
in all directions to avoid the dog's eyes. They were watchful, treacherous
and in their depths lurked something mean and nasty, even criminal. Scowling
at him, the dog slunk into a comer.
'Collar, Zina,' said Philip Philipovich softly, 'only don't excite
For a moment Zina's eyes had the same vile look as Bormenthal's. She
walked up to the dog and with obvious treachery, stroked him.
What're you doing ... all three of you? OK, take me if you want me. You
ought to be ashamed ... If only I knew what you're going to do to me . . .
Zina unfastened his collar, the dog shook his head and snorted.
Bormenthal rose up in front of him, reeking of that foul, sickening smell.
Ugh, disgusting . . . wonder why I feel so queer . . ., thought the dog
as he dodged away.
'Hurry, doctor,' said Philip Philipovich impatiently. There was a
sharp, sweet smell in the air. The doctor, without taking his horrible
watchful eyes off the dog slipped his right hand out from behind his back
and quickly clamped a pad of damp cotton wool over the dog's nose. Sharik
went dumb, his head spinning a little, but he still managed to jump back.
The doctor jumped after him and rapidly smothered his whole muzzle in cotton
wool. His breathing stopped, but again the dog jerked himself away. You
bastard . . ., flashed through his mind. Why? And down came the pad again.
Then a lake suddenly materialised in the middle of the consulting-room
floor. On it was a boat, rowed by a crew of extraordinary pink dogs. The
bones in his legs gave way and collapsed.
'On to the table!' Philip Philipovich boomed from somewhere in a
cheerful voice and the sound disintegrated into orange-coloured streaks.
Fear vanished and gave way to joy. For two seconds the dog loved the man he
had bitten. Then the whole world turned upside down and he felt a cold but
soothing hand on his belly. Then - nothing.
The dog Sharik lay stretched out on the narrow operating table, his
head lolling helplessly against a white oilcloth pillow. His stomach was
shaven and now Doctor Bormenthal, breathing heavily, was hurriedly shaving
Sharik's head with clippers that ate through his fur. Philip Philipovich,
leaning on the edge of the table, watched the process through his shiny,
gold-rimmed spectacles. He spoke urgently:
'Ivan Arnoldovich, the most vital moment is when I enter the turkish
saddle. You must then instantly pass me the gland and start suturing at
once. If we have a haemorrhage then we shall lose time and lose the dog. In
any case, he hasn't a chance . . .' He was silent, frowning, and gave an
ironic look at the dog's half-closed eye, then added: 'Do you know, I feel
sorry for him. I've actually got used to having him around.'
So saying he raised his hands as though calling down a blessing on the
unfortunate Sharik's great sacrificial venture. Bormenthal laid aside the
clippers and picked up a razor. He lathered the defenceless little head and
started to shave it. The blade scraped across the skin, nicked it and drew
blood. Having shaved the head the doctor wiped it with an alcohol swab, then
stretched out the dog's bare stomach and said with a sigh of relief:
Zina turned on the tap over the washbasin and Bormenthal hurriedly
washed his hands. From a phial Zina poured alcohol over them.
'May I go, Philip Philipovich?' she asked, glancing nervously at the
dog's shaven head.
Zina disappeared. Bormenthal busied himself further. He surrounded
Shank's head with tight gauze wadding, which framed the odd sight of a naked
canine scalp and a muzzle that by comparison seemed heavily bearded.
The priest stirred. He straightened up, looked at the dog's head and
said: 'God bless us. Scalpel.'
Bormenthal took a short, broad-bladed knife from the glittering pile on
the small table and handed it to the great man. He too then donned a pair of
'Is he asleep?' asked Philip Philipovich.
'He's sleeping nicely.'
Philip Philipovich clenched his teeth, his eyes took on a sharp,
piercing glint and with a flourish of his scalpel he made a long, neat
incision down the length of Sharik's belly. The skin parted instantly,
spurting blood in several directions. Bormenthal swooped like a vulture,
began dabbing Sharik's wound with swabs of gauze, then gripped its edges
with a row of little clamps like sugar-tongs, and the bleeding stopped.
Droplets of sweat oozed from Bormenthal's forehead. Philip Philipovich made
a second incision and again Sharik's body was pulled apart by hooks,
scissors and little clamps. Pink and yellow tissues emerged, oozing with
blood. Philip Philipovich turned the scalpel in the wound, then barked:
Like a conjuring trick the instrument materialised in Bormenthal's
hand. Philip Philipovich delved deep and with a few twists he removed the
testicles and some dangling attachments from Sharik's body. Dripping with
exertion and excitement Bormenthal leapt to a glass jar and removed from it
two more wet, dangling testicles, their short, moist, stringy vesicles
dangling like elastic in the hands of the professor and his assistant. The
bent needles clicked faintly 54
against the clamps as the new testicles were sewn in place of Sharik's.
The priest drew back from the incision, swabbed it and gave the order:
'Suture, doctor. At once.' He turned around and looked at the white
clock on the wall.
'Fourteen minutes,' grunted Bormenthal through clenched teeth as he
pierced the flabby skin with his crooked needle. Both grew as tense as two
murderers working against the clock.
'Scalpel!' cried Philip Philipovich.
The scalpel seemed to leap into his hand as though of its own accord,
at which point Philip Philipovich's expression grew quite fearsome. Grinding
his gold and porcelain bridge-work, in a single stroke he incised a red
fillet around Sharik's head. The scalp, with its shaven hairs, was removed,
the skull bone laid bare. Philip Philipovich shouted: 'Trepan!'
Bormenthal handed him a shining auger. Biting his lips Philip
Philipovich began to insert the auger and drill a complete circle of little
holes, a centimetre apart, around the top of Sharik's skull. Each hole took
no more than five seconds to drill. Then with a saw of the most curious
design he put its point into the first hole and began sawing through the
skull as though he were making a lady's fretwork sewing-basket. The skull
shook and squeaked faintly. After three minutes the roof of the dog's skull
The dome of Sharik's brain was now laid bare - grey, threaded with
bluish veins and spots of red. Philip Philipovich plunged his scissors
between the membranes and eased them apart. Once a thin stream of blood
spurted up, almost hitting the professor in the eye and spattering his white
cap. Like a tiger Bormenthal pounced in with a tourniquet and squeezed.
Sweat streamed down his face, which was growing puffy and mottled. His eyes
flicked to and fro from the professor's hand to the instrument-table. Philip
Philipovich was positively awe-inspiring. A hoarse snoring noise came from
his nose, his teeth were bared to the gums. He peeled aside layers of
cerebral membrane and penetrated deep between the hemispheres of the brain.
It was then that Bor-menthal went pale, and seizing Sharik's breast with one
hand he said hoarsely: 'Pulse falling sharply . . .'
Philip Philipovich flashed him a savage look, grunted something and
delved further still. Bormenthal snapped open a glass ampoule, filled a
syringe with the liquid and treacherously injected the dog near his heart.
'I'm coming to the turkish saddle,' growled Philip Philipovich. With
his slippery, bloodstained gloves he removed Sharik's greyish-yellow brain
from his head. For a second he glanced at Sharik's muzzle and Bormenthal
snapped open a second ampoule of yellow liquid and sucked it into the long
'Shall I do it straight into the heart?' he enquired cautiously.
'Don't waste time asking questions!' roared the professor angrily. 'He
could die five times over while you're making up your mind. Inject, man!
What are you waiting for?' His face had the look of an inspired robber
With a flourish the doctor plunged the needle into the dog's heart.
'He's alive, but only just,' he whispered timidly.
'No time to argue whether he's alive or not,' hissed the terrible
Philip Philipovich. 'I'm at the saddle. So what if he does die ... hell
..."... the banks of the sa-acred Nile" . . . give me the gland.'
Bormenthal handed him a beaker containing a white blob suspended on a
thread in some fluid. With one hand ('God, there's no one like him in all
Europe,' thought Bormenthal) he fished out the dangling blob and with the
other hand, using the scissors, he excised a similar blob from deep within
the separated cerebral hemispheres. Sharik's blob he threw on to a plate,
the new one he inserted into the brain with a piece of thread. Then his
stumpy fingers, now miraculously delicate and sensitive, sewed the
amber-coloured thread cunningly into place. After that he removed various
stretchers and clamps from the skull, replaced the brain in its bony
container, leaned back and said in a much calmer voice:
'I suppose he's died?'
'There's just a flicker of pulse,' replied Bormenthal.
'Give him another shot of adrenalin.'
The professor replaced the membranes over the brain, restored the
sawn-off lid to its exact place, pushed the scalp back into position and
Five minutes later Bormenthal had sewn up the dog's head, breaking
There on the bloodstained pillow lay Sharik's slack, lifeless muzzle, a
circular wound on his tonsured head. Like a satisfied vampire Philip
Philipovich finally stepped back, ripped off one glove, shook out of it a
cloud of sweat-drenched powder, tore off the other one, threw it on the
ground and rang the bell in the wall. Zina appeared in the doorway, looking
away to avoid seeing the blood-spattered dog. With chalky hands the great
man pulled off his skull-cap and cried:
Give me a cigarette, Zina. And then some clean clothes and a bath.'
Layino- his chin on the edge of the table he parted the dog's right
eyelids, peered into the obviously moribund eye and said:
'Well, I'll be ... He's not dead yet. Still, he'll die. I feel sorry
for the dog, Bormenthal. He was naughty but I couldn't help liking him.'
Subject of experiment: Male dog aged approx. 2 years.
Coat sparse, in tufts, brownish with traces of singeing. Tail the
colour of baked milk. On right flank traces of healed second-degree burn.
Previous nutritional state -poor. After a week's stay with Prof.
Preobrazhensky -extremely well nourished. Weight: 8 kilograms (!). Heart: .
. . Lungs: . . . Stomach: . . . Temperature: . . .
December 23rd At 8.05pm Prof. Preobrazhensky commenced the first
operation of its kind to be performed in Europe: removal under anaesthesia
of the dog's testicles and their replacement by implanted human testes, with
appendages and seminal ducts, taken from a 28-year-old human male, dead 4
hours and 4 minutes before the operation and kept by Prof. Preobrazhensky in
sterilised physiological fluid.
Immediately thereafter, following a trepanning operation on the cranial
roof, the pituitary gland was removed and replaced by a human pituitary
originating from the above-mentioned human male. Drugs used: Chloroform - 8
Camphor - 1 syringe.
Adrenalin - 2 syringes (by cardiac injection ).
Purpose of operation: Experimental observation by Prof. Preobrazhensky
of the effect of combined transplantation of the pituitary and testes in
order to study both the functional viability in a host-organism and its role
in cellular etc. rejuvenation.
Operation performed by; Prof. P. P. Preobrazhensky. Assisted by: Dr I.
A. Bormenthal. During the night following the operation, frequent and grave
weakening of the pulse. Dog apparently in terminal state.
Preobrazhensky prescribes camphor injections in massive dosage.
December 24th am Improvement. Respiration rate doubled. Temperature:
42C. Camphor and caffeine injected subcutaneously.
December 25th Deterioration.
Pulse barely detectable, cooling of the extremities, no pupillary
reaction. Preobrazhensky orders cardiac injection of adrenalin and camphor,
intravenous injections of physiological solution.
December 26th Slight improvement. Pulse: 180.
Respiration: 92. Temperature: 41C. Camphor. Alimentation per rectum.
December 27th Pulse: 152. Respiration: 50. Temperature: 39.8C.
Pupillary reaction. Camphor - subcutaneous.
December 28th Significant improvement. At noon sudden heavy
perspiration. Temperature: 37C.
Condition of surgical wounds unchanged. Re-bandaged. Signs of appetite.
December 29th Sudden moulting of hair on forehead and torso. The
following were summoned for consultation:
1. Professor of Dermatology - Vasily Vasilievich Bundaryov.
2. Director, Moscow Veterinary Institute.
Both stated the case to be without precedent in medical literature.
No diagnosis established.
Temperature: (entered in pencil).
8.15pm. First bark.
Distinct alteration of timbre and lowering of pitch
noticeable. Instead of diphthong 'aow-aow', bark now enunciated on
vowels 'ah-oh', in intonation reminiscent
of a groan.
December 30th Moulting process has progressed to almost total baldness.
Weighing produced the unexpected result of 80 kg., due to growth
(lengthening of the bones). Dog still lying prone.
December 31st Subject exhibits colossal appetite.
(Ink-blot. After the blot the following entry in scrawled
hand-writing): At 12.12pm the dog distinctly pronounced the sounds
(Gap in entries. The following entries show errors due to excitement):
December 1st (deleted; corrected to): January 1st 1925. Dog
Cheerfully barks 'Nes-set-a', repeating loudly and with apparent
3.0pm (in heavy lettering): Dog laughed, causing maid Zina to faint.
Later, pronounced the following 8 times in succession: 'Nesseta-ciled'.
(Sloping characters, written in pencil):
The professor has deciphered the word 'Nesseta-ciled' by reversal: it
is 'delicatessen' . . . Quite extraord . . .
January 2nd Dog photographed by magnesium flash while smiling. Got up
and remained confidently on hind legs for a half-hour. Now nearly my height.
(Loose page inserted into notebook): Russian science almost suffered a most
serious blow. History of Prof. P. P. Preobrazhensky's illness:
1.13pm Prof. Preobrazhensky falls into deep faint. On falling, strikes
head on edge of table.
Temp.: . . .
The dog in the presence of Zina and myself, had called Prof.
Preobrazhensky a 'bloody bastard'.
January 6th (entries made partly in pencil, partly in violet ink):
Today, after the dog's tail had fallen out, he quite clearly pronounced
the word 'liquor'.
Recording apparatus switched on. God knows what's happening.
Professor has ceased to see patients. From 5pm this evening sounds of
vulgar abuse issuing from the consulting-room, where the creature is still
confined. Heard to ask for 'another one, and make it a double.'
January 7th Creature can now pronounce several words: 'taxi', 'full
up', 'evening paper', 'take one home for the kiddies' and every known
Russian swear-word. His appearance is strange. He now only has hair on his
head, chin and chest. Elsewhere he is bald, with flabby skin. His genital
region now has the appearance of an immature human male. His skull has
enlarged considerably. Brow low and receding.
My God, I must be going mad. . . .
Philip Philipovich still feels unwell. Most of the observations
(pictures and recordings) are being carried out by myself.
Rumours are spreading round the town . . . Consequences may be
incalculable. All day today the whole street was full of loafing rubbernecks
and old women . . . Dogs still crowding round beneath the windows. Amazing
report in the morning papers: The rumours of a Martian in Obukhov Street are
totally unfounded. They have been spread by black-market traders and their
repetition will be severely punished. What Martian, for God's sake? This is
turning into a nightmare.
Reports in today's evening paper even worse - they say that a child has
been born who could play the violin from birth. Beside it is a photograph of
myself with the caption: 'Prof. Preobrazhensky performing a Caesarian
operation on the mother.' The situation is getting out of hand ... He can
now say a new word - 'policeman' . . .
Apparently Darya Petrovna was in love with me and pinched the snapshot
of me out of Philip Philipovich's photograph album. After I had kicked out
all the reporters one of them sneaked back into the kitchen, and so ...
Consulting hours are now impossible. Eighty-two telephone calls today.
The telephone has been cut off. We are besieged by child-less women . . .
House committee appeared in full strength, headed by Shvonder - they
could not explain why they had come.
January 8th Late this evening diagnosis finally agreed. With the
impartiality of a true scholar Philip Philipovich has acknowledged his
error: transplantation of the pituitary induces not rejuvenation but total
humanisation (underlined three times). This does not, however, lessen the
value of his stupendous discovery.
The creature walked round the flat today for the first time. Laughed in
the corridor after looking at the electric light. Then, accompanied by
Philip Philipovich and myself, he went into the study. Stands firmly on his
hind (deleted) ... his legs and gives the impression of a short, ill-knit
Laughed in the study. His smile is disagreeable and somehow artificial.
Then he scratched the back of his head, looked round and registered a
further, clearly-pronounced word: 'Bourgeois'. Swore. His swearing is
methodical, uninterrupted and apparently totally meaningless. There is
something mechanical about it - it is as if this creature had heard all this
bad language at an earlier phase, automatically recorded it in his
subconscious and now regurgitates it wholesale. However, I am no
The swearing somehow has a very depressing effect on Philip
Philipovich. There are moments when he abandons his cool, unemotional
observation of new phenomena and appears to lose patience. Once when the
creature was swearing, for instance, he suddenly burst out impulsively:
'Shut up!' This had no effect.
After his visit to the study Sharik was shut up in the consulting-room
by our joint efforts. Philip Philipovich and I then held a conference. I
confess that this was the first time I had seen this self-assured and highly
intelligent man at a loss. He hummed a little, as he is in the habit of
doing, then asked: 'What are we going to do now?' He answered himself
literally as follows:
'Moscow State Clothing Stores, yes . . . from Granada to Seville" . .
. M.S.C.S., my dear doctor . . .' I could not understand him, then he
explained: 'Ivan Arnold-ovich, please go and buy him some underwear, shirt,
jacket and trousers.'
January 9th The creature's vocabulary is being enriched by a new word
every five minutes (on average) and, since this morning, by sentences. It is
as if they had been lying frozen in his mind, are melting and emerging. Once
out, the word remains in use. Since yesterday evening the machine has
recorded the following: 'Stop pushing', 'You swine', 'Get off the bus - full
up', 'I'll show you', 'American recognition', 'kerosene stove'.
January10th The creature was dressed. He took to a vest quite readily,
even laughing cheerfully. He refused underpants, though, protesting with
'Stop queue-barging, you bastards!' Finally we dressed him. The sizes
of his clothes were too big for him.
(Here the notebook contains a number of schematised drawings,
apparently depicting the transformation of a canine into a human leg.) The
rear lialf of the skeleton of the foot is lengthening. Elongation of the
toes. Nails. (With appropriate sketches.)
Repeated systematic toilet training. The servants are angry and
However, the creature is undoubtedly intelligent. The experiment is
January llth Quite reconciled to wearing clothes, although was heard to
say, 'Christ, I've got ants in my pants.'
Fur on head now thin and silky; almost indistinguishable from hair,
though scars still visible in parietal region. Today last traces of fur
dropped from his ears. Colossal appetite. Enjoys salted herring. At 5pm
occurred a significant event: for the first time the words spoken by the
creature were not disconnected from surrounding phenomena but were a
reaction to them. Thus when the professor said to him, 'Don't throw
food-scraps on the floor,' he unexpectedly replied: 'Get stuffed.' Philip
Philipovich was appalled, but recovered and said: 'If you swear at me or the
doctor again, you're in trouble.' I photographed Sharik at that moment and I
swear that he understood what the professor said. His face clouded over and
he gave a sullen look, but said nothing. Hurrah - he understands!
January 12th. Put hands in pockets. We are teaching him not to swear.
Whistled, 'Hey, little apple'. Sustained conversation. I cannot resist
certain hypotheses: we must forget rejuvenation for the time being. The
other aspect is immeasurably more important. Prof. Preobrazhensky's
astounding experiment has revealed one of the secrets of the human brain.
The mysterious function of the pituitary as an adjunct to the brain has now
been clarified. It determines human appearance. Its hormones may now be
regarded as the most important in the whole organism - the hormones of man's
image. A new field has been opened up to science; without the aid of any
Faustian retorts a homunculus has been created. The surgeon's scalpel has
brought to life a new human entity. Prof. Preobrazhensky-you are a creator.
But I digress ... As stated, he can now sustain a conversation. As I
see it, the situation is as follows: the implanted pituitary has activated
the speech-centre in the canine brain and words have poured out in a stream.
I do not think that we have before us a newly-created brain but a brain
which has been stimulated to develop. Oh, what a glorious confirmation of
the theory of evolution! Oh, the sublime chain leading from a dog to
Mendeleyev the great chemist! A further hypothesis of mine is that during
its canine stage Sharik's brain had accumulated a massive quantity of
sense-data. All the words which he used initially were the language of the
streets which he had picked up and stored in his brain. Now as I walk along
the streets I look at every dog I meet with secret horror. God knows what is
lurking in their minds.
Sharik can read. He can read (three exclamation marks). I guessed it
from his early use of the word 'delicatessen'. He could read from the
beginning. And I even know the solution to this puzzle - it lies in the
structure of the canine optic nerve. God alone knows what is now going on in
Moscow. Seven black-market traders are already behind bars for spreading
rumours that the end of the world is imminent and has been caused by the
Bolsheviks. Darya Petrovna told me about this and even named the date -
November 28th, 1925, the day of St Stephen the Martyr, when the earth will
spiral off into infinity. . . . Some charlatans are already giving lectures
about it. We have started such a rumpus with this pituitary experiment that
I have had to leave my flat. I have moved in with Preobrazhensky and sleep
in the waiting-room with Sharik. The consulting-room has been turned into a
new waiting-room. Shvender was right. Trouble is brewing with the house
committee. There is not a single glass left, as he will jump on to the
shelves. Great difficulty in teaching him not to do this.
Something odd is happening to Philip. When I told him about my
hypotheses and my hopes of developing Sharik into an intellectually advanced
personality, he hummed and hahed, then said: 'Do you really think so?' His
tone was ominous. Have I made a mistake? Then he had an idea. While I wrote
up these case-notes, Preobrazhensky made a careful study of the life-story
of the man from whom we took the pituitary.
(Loose page inserted into the notebook.)
Name: Elim Grigorievich Chugunkin. Age: 25.
Marital status: Unmarried.
Not a Party member, but sympathetic to the Party. Three times charged
with theft and acquitted - on the first occasion for lack of evidence, in
the second case saved by his social origin, the third time put on probation
with a conditional sentence of 15 years hard labour.
Profession: plays the balalaika in bars. Short, poor physical shape.
Enlarged liver (alcohol). Cause of death: knife-wound in the heart,
sustained in the Red Light Bar at Preobrazhensky Gate.
The old man continues to study Chugunkin's case exhaustively, although
I cannot understand why. He grunted something about the pathologist having
failed to make a complete examination of Chugunkin's body. What does he
mean? Does it matter whose pituitary it is?
January 17th Unable to make notes for several days, as I have had an
attack of influenza. Meanwhile the creature's appearance has assumed
(a) physically a complete human being.
(b) weight about 108 Ibs.
(c) below medium height.
(d) small head.
(e) eats human food.
(f) dresses himself.
(g) capable of normal conversation.
So much for the pituitary (ink blot).
This concludes the notes on this case. We now have a new organism which
must be studied as such. appendices: Verbatim reports of speech, recordings,
photographs. Signed: I. A. Bormenthal, M.D.
Asst. to Prof. P. P. Preobrazhensky.
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