Perhaps it's because of all those parables that Jesus told that I start looking for other messages and meanings in stories that claim a connection to religion. But, then, I've long complained that others have caught on to those old assumptions and pepper their stories and songs with vague references to God, heaven and so on just to give the impression of profundity.
"Easter Eve," by Anton Chekhov, is about a man waiting for a ferry to cross a river in order to attend an Easter service on the other side. On the way, the ferryman reveals that he is saddened this night as he is mourning the loss of his friend Nikolay, an under appreciated hymn-writing monk. To add insult to injury, he is not given any time off to attend to the funeral.
It's easy to find potential allusions and symbols in this story. The way the ferry appears seemingly out of nowhere suggests a supernatural element. Could Ieronim, the ferryman, be transporting souls across Hades? The under appreciated hymn writer? Could that be Jesus? The return trip across the river? Is that resurrection?
But none of it held up closely under scrutiny, not a supernatural interpretation and not a parable. It's fine, I suppose, from a purely literal short story reading but Chekhov seems to go out of his way to imply there is something more. But what?
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