Crambe repetita (35)
At home he had an unpleasant surprise. In the dining room his ten-year-old son was studiously learning the alphabet.
Terenty tore the book out of the boy’s hands and ripped it to shreds.
‘You mangy pup!’ he yelled. ‘So you thought you’d start readin’ books, eh? Learn the sciences, eh? So you wanna end up a goatherd?’
Angrily banging the door behind him, he went to his study to eat cabbage soup.
The little boy sobbed and sobbed as he gathered up the shredded pages. The lady-doctor cleared the dishes away, tiptoed up to the crying boy, and tentatively stroking his head, she whispered, ‘Don’t cry, my child. One day we shall see the heavens glittering like diamonds.’
—Teffi (‘One Day in the Future’ in Subtly Worded, p. 83)