Thursday, September 1, 2011
This is a fairy tale by Andrei Platonov. It's called "The Armless Woman." It is about a woman whose brother cuts off her arms and sends her away to go where her eyes lead her. She wanders through the forest until she comes upon an apple orchard. She steals two apples with her mouth, not daring to eat a third. Nevertheless, she's caught by the groundskeeper. Luckily, on her way to another dire punishment, the son of the orchard keeper intercedes upon seeing her face, which has become beautiful on account of her suffering. He's disappointed, but ultimately does not mind that she has no arms. They marry and he goes off to war. She has his child.
Evil befalls her once again, and she is sent wandering through the woods, this time with her baby. They come upon a well and she drops him. "Oh Woe! I have no arms with which to save my child!" she cries, then magically grown arms. They disappear as soon as the babe is saved.
The final drawing in this set depicts the self-inflicted fate of her brother and his wife. This is how the story ends.
Read it in Russian here: http://imwerden.de/pdf/platonov_bezruchka.pdf
Beautifully scanned by Matt Tracey.