Monuments are being erected not only by scientists, writers, soldiers, but also by the heroes of their favorite books. You can recall the monument to Til Ulenshpigel in Holland, the heroes of the play “For Two Hares” by M. Staritsky in Kiev. Sometimes such a monument becomes a symbol of the city, as Andersen’s Mermaid became the symbol of Copenhagen. And unlike monuments to historical events and various figures, monuments to literary heroes, as a rule, are funny.
Recently such a ridiculous monument appeared in Kharkov, on the first platform of the Southern Railway Station. This is a monument to Father Fyodor, the character of the novel by I. Ilf and Is. Petrov “Twelve Chairs”. He is an unsuccessful competitor to Ostap Bender and Kishi Vorobyaninov. Having learned on the confession about the treasures hidden in the seat of the chair, the priest leaves his post on his own and leaves in search of a furniture set.
During his pursuit of chairs,
Father Fyodor traveled around the country. I also visited Kharkov, where I sent a letter to my wife: “It’s very summer here in Kharkov, the city is noisy – the center of the Ukrainian Republic.” After the province it seems as though I have got abroad. ” The capital struck the priest so much that he compared all the following cities to it, where he entered the search excitement: “I do not like the city of Rostov, because of its population and geography, it is much inferior to Kharkov.” And further: “By its geographical position and by the number of population, the city of Baku considerably exceeds the city of Rostov, however it is inferior to the city of Kharkiv by its movement.”
Now excerpts from the priest’s letter to his wife are minted on the low pedestal of the monument. Father Fyodor runs to meet us in a platform in a coat, fluttering, holding a teapot in his hand (when at all large stations there were special tanks, from where passengers could dial boiling water into the kettle). His face shines with innocent slyness, all the hardships and concerns
of the trip are yet to come. This, in fact, is already a monument not only to a literary hero, but also to a passenger in general, a nightly price-earner and a traveler. Not without reason in the novel the section on the beginning of the journey is called “The Muse of distant wanderings”. “From the moment when a citizen enters the zone of alienation, which he calls amateurish railway stations or the condition of this station, his life changes dramatically.” From that moment the citizen no longer belongs to himself, he starts to fulfill all the duties of the passenger. ” 1 Father Fyodor, torn from the roots, that the light rolled across the world, caught a glimpse of a brilliant teapot for the platform of the pompous station, paused and looked at the eternal human flow. There’s nothing to be done: “The muse of distant wanderings attracts a man.”