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"The Crocodile" ( ) is a short story written by Fyodor Dostoevsky first published in 1865.


The story opens with the narrator telling the purportedly true tale of his friend Ivan Matveich, who was swallowed alive by a crocodile. The narrator, Ivan Matveich, and his wife Elena Ivanovna had all gone to the Arcade to see a crocodile that was put on display by a German gentleman. After teasing the crocodile, Ivan Matveich was swallowed alive. He found the inside of the crocodile to be quite elastic and benign, and despite pleas from Elena Ivanovna to cut open the crocodile the German would not cooperate. Ivan Matveich urged his friend to arrange for the crocodile to be paid for before it was cut open, but the crocodile was so expensive that an agreement could not be reached. Elena Ivanovna eventually divorced Ivan Matveich, and he carried on his work as a civil servant as best he could from inside the crocodile.


Dostoyevsky was accused by the liberal press that the story is actually a low parody on the fate of Russian socialist writer Nikolai Chernyshevsky who wrote his novel What Is to Be Done? and numerous letters while being arrested and confined to Peter and Paul Fortressmarker and his wife, socialite Olga Sokratovna Chernyshevkaya. Dostoyevsky himself denied the allusions were intentional.


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