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Childhood by Leo Nikoleyevich Tolstoy
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By Leo Tolstoy

Translated by C.J. Hogarth


On the 12th of August, 18-- (just three days after my tenth birthday,
when I had been given such wonderful presents), I was awakened at seven
o'clock in the morning by Karl Ivanitch slapping the wall close to my
head with a fly-flap made of sugar paper and a stick. He did this so
roughly that he hit the image of my patron saint suspended to the oaken
back of my bed, and the dead fly fell down on my curls. I peeped out
from under the coverlet, steadied the still shaking image with my hand,
flicked the dead fly on to the floor, and gazed at Karl Ivanitch with
sleepy, wrathful eyes. He, in a parti-coloured wadded dressing-gown
fastened about the waist with a wide belt of the same material, a red
knitted cap adorned with a tassel, and soft slippers of goat skin, went
on walking round the walls and taking aim at, and slapping, flies.

"Suppose," I thought to myself, "that I am only a small boy, yet why
should he disturb me? Why does he not go killing flies around Woloda's
bed? No; Woloda is older than I, and I am the youngest of the family, so
he torments me. That is what he thinks of all day long--how to tease
me. He knows very well that he has woken me up and frightened me, but he
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