Prince Yuri Lubovedsky

I was quite convinced it was the landlady who had brought me this artichoke for the simple reason that so far no one besides her had entered my room. So, when I met her the same day in the corridor, I confidently thanked her and even teased her about the artichoke, but to my great surprise she made it clear to me that she knew nothing whatever about it.

The next morning I again saw a Jerusalem artichoke in the same place and, although I ate this one with no less pleasure, I began to think seriously about its mysterious appearance in my room.

What was my astonishment when on the third day the same thing was repeated! This time I firmly resolved to investigate, and find out without fail who was playing such puzzling but pleasant tricks on me; but for several days I could not discover anything, although punctually every morning I found a Jerusalem artichoke in the same place.

One morning, in order to clear up this matter, which mystified me more and more each day, I hid behind a barrel of fermenting kvass in the corridor. After a short time I saw Philos cautiously stealing past the barrel, carrying in his mouth a large Jerusalem artichoke. He went into my room and placed it just where I usually found them. From then on I began to keep a close watch on Philos.

The next morning when I was about to leave the house, I patted Philos on the left side of his head, which meant between us that I was going far away and was not taking him with me; but going out into the street, I walked only a short distance and then returned to the shop opposite our house and began watching my door.

Very soon out came Philos, and glancing round he set off in the direction of the market; surreptitiously, I followed. At the market, near the municipal scales, were a great many provision shops and a crowd of people. I saw Philos quietly walking through the crowd and did not let him out of my sight.