The Crocodile (short story)
The story opens with the narrator telling the purportedly true events that happened to his friend Ivan Matveich, who is swallowed alive by a crocodile. The narrator, Ivan Matveich, and his wife Elena Ivanovna are at the Arcade to see a crocodile that was put on display by a German gentleman. After teasing the crocodile, Ivan Matveich is swallowed alive. He finds 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 urges his friend to arrange for the crocodile to be paid for before it was cut open, but the crocodile is so expensive that no agreement can be reached. Elena Ivanovna eventually divorces Ivan Matveich, and he carries 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 Fortress and his wife, socialite Olga Sokratovna Chernyshevkaya. Dostoyevsky himself denied the allusions were intentional.
- commentary to "The Crocodile" story (Russian)