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Hide and Seek

Fiodor Sologub



The next day Serafima Aleksandrovna, absorbed in her joyous cares for
Lelechka, had forgotten Fedosya's words of the day before.

But when she returned to the nursery, after having ordered the dinner,
and she heard Lelechka suddenly cry "Tiu-tiu!" from under the table,
a feeling of fear suddenly took hold of her. Though she reproached
herself at once for this unfounded, superstitious dread, nevertheless
she could not enter wholeheartedly into the spirit of Lelechka's
favourite game, and she tried to divert Lelechka's attention to
something else.

Lelechka was a lovely and obedient child. She eagerly complied with
her mother's new wishes. But as she had got into the habit of hiding
from her mother in some corner, and of crying out "Tiu-tiu!" so even
that day she returned more than once to the game.

Serafima Aleksandrovna tried desperately to amuse Lelechka. This was
not so easy because restless, threatening thoughts obtruded themselves

"Why does Lelechka keep on recalling the tiu-tiu? Why does she not
get tired of the same thing—of eternally closing her eyes, and of
hiding her face? Perhaps," thought Serafima Aleksandrovna, "she is not
as strongly drawn to the world as other children, who are attracted by
many things. If this is so, is it not a sign of organic weakness? Is
it not a germ of the unconscious non-desire to live?"

Serafima Aleksandrovna was tormented by presentiments. She felt
ashamed of herself for ceasing to play hide and seek with Lelechka
before Fedosya. But this game had become agonising to her, all the
more agonising because she had a real desire to play it, and because
something drew her very strongly to hide herself from Lelechka and to
seek out the hiding child. Serafima Aleksandrovna herself began the
game once or twice, though she played it with a heavy heart. She
suffered as though committing an evil deed with full consciousness.

It was a sad day for Serafima Aleksandrovna.