The Master and Magarita

“Disgraceful,” the guest scolded and added, “And besides, why do you say things like ‘smash some guy in the puss’? After all, no one knows exactly what a man has, a face or a puss. Most likely, it’s still a face. So, when it comes to fists… No, you should stop doing that sort of thing once and for all.”

After giving Ivan this lecture, the guest inquired, “And what is your profession?”

“Poet,” Ivan acknowledged somewhat unwillingly. The newcomer became distressed.

“Oh, how unlucky I am!” he exclaimed, but then caught himself, apologized, and then asked, “And what is your name?”


“Uh-oh,” said the guest with a frown.

“What’s the matter, don’t you like my poetry?” asked Ivan with curiosity.

“Emphatically not.”

“And what have you read?”

“I haven’t read any of your poetry!” retorted the visitor irritably.

“Then how can you tell?”

“Well,” replied the guest, “It’s not as if I haven’t read other things like it, now is it? But maybe, by some miracle, yours is different? All right, I’m ready to take it on faith. Tell me yourself, are your poems any good?”

“Horrible!” Ivan blurted out boldly and frankly.

“Don’t write any more!” The newcomer implored.

“I promise you, I swear I won’t,” was Ivan’s solemn reply.
Mikhail Bulgakov,


The Master and Margarita

p. 110

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