Summary “Man on the clock”

Narrator Leskov’s story “The Man on the Clock” was written and first published in 1887 under the title “Salvation of the Perished.” The work was created within the literary realism direction. The story “The Man on the Clock” is based on a real story of the rescue of a watchman drowning man.

Main characters

Postnikov is the main hero, a soldier of the Izmaylovo Regiment. While on duty, he slept a man, but was punished for having left the service.

The officer of the court invalid team – impersonated a man who saved a drowning man.

Piggyin is a battalion commander, a lieutenant colonel. A person is not heartless, but above all, and above all, a “serviceman.”

Other characters

Kokoshkin is a general, a chief policeman.

Miller is an officer, commander of the Izmailovsky Regiment.

Vladyka the priest.


“In winter, near Baptism, in 1839 in St. Petersburg

was a strong thaw,” the ice on the Neva melted. The sentry, soldier of the Izmaylovski Postnik regiment, standing on guard at the present Jordanian entrance, heard that a man was shouting and praying for help in the polona. Postnikov hesitated for a long time, because he had no right to leave the place of the guard. Unable to withstand, the soldier fled to the river and with the help of a gun helped the drowning out.

While the soldier was thinking who to hand over to a completely wet and trembling man, the sledge of an officer of the “court invalid team” just left the embankment. Postnikov quickly returned to his post. Without clarifying the details, the officer took the man with him and took him “to the house”, calling himself a savior. The rescued was too weak, so he did not care who helped him.

In the palace guard it became known that Postnikov left the guard. He was immediately replaced and sent to the officer Miller. Fearing that the incident would be reported to the emperor, the commander asked for help from the officer of the pig. Svinjin, having ordered to put

Postnikov in the punishment cell, went to the chief policeman Kokoshkin.

Upon learning of the incident, Kokoshkin ordered to call him an invalid officer and a rescued. During the interrogation it was found out that there were no witnesses of the incident except the sentries. An invalid officer who pretended to be a savior was awarded a medal “for the salvation of those who perished.”

Postnikov Svinin defined the punishment – “two hundred rods.” After “execution” the soldier was taken to the regimental infirmary. Postnikov visited Svinyin, bringing him “a pound of sugar and a quarter of a pound of tea.” The soldier was grateful to the officer. “He really was” pleased “, because, sitting for three days in a punishment cell, he expected much worse,” and the two hundred rods were not so significant punishment, compared to what could have been expected by a military court verdict.

Rumors about this incident interested the lord. Having learned the story from Svinin, the priest concluded: “Humiliation and wounds can be much more useful for a soldier for his exploit than to be arrogant with a sign.”


In the story “The Man on the Clock” Leskov reveals a number of moral themes, the leading of which is the theme of human duty. For neglect of military regulations Postnikov could face the death penalty, but he still saved the drowning man.

A brief retelling of “The Man on the Clock” will be useful for acquaintance with the plot of the story, as well as in preparing for the lesson of Russian literature.

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Summary “Man on the clock”