As Maxim and Lizaveta, a young married couple, drive home from church on Easter, Maxim finds the joy and beauty in everything. As the newly married couple drives home on their first Easter together, carrying a blessed Easter cake, they see a Cossack at the side of the road. They soon learn that he is sick and too weak to make it home, and he asks for some food if they have any. Maxim immediately wants to share the Easter cake with him; however, his wife refuses to allow this, ripping the cake away from her husband. She feels the cake is holy and should be cut at home properly. Maxim apologizes to the Cossack, and he and Lizaveta go home. But from this point forward, Maxim is haunted by his wife’s unkindness and the unkindness shown to the sick Cossack. By the end of the story, his guilt causes a change in their relationship and their lives.
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian writer best known for his plays and short stories. During his life-time, he wrote hundreds of short stories, which utilize simple prose and limited literary techniques to get to the heart of the characters. He has won several awards and honors, including the Pushkin Prize in 1888.