Summary “The wise gudgeon”

The satirical fairy tale “Wise gudgeon” was written in 1882 – 1883. The work was included in the series “Fairy tales for children of a fair age.” In the tales of Saltykov-Shchedrin “The Wise Gingerbread Man” ridiculous cowardly people who live their whole lives in fear, without doing anything useful.

Main characters

The wise pisar – “enlightened, moderately liberal”, lived more than a hundred years in fear and loneliness.

Father and mother of the piskar


“Once upon a time there was a pisar, and his father and mother were smart.” Dying, the old pisar taught his son to “look both”. The wise squeaker understood that danger lay around him – a large fish could swallow, cut a pincer’s cancer, a water flea should be tortured. Particularly scared of the people’s pisar – even his father once in his ear did not please. Therefore, the pisarer

hollowed out a hole for himself, to which only he could get. At night, when everyone was asleep, went out for a walk, and in the daytime – “I was shivering in the hole.” He did not sleep enough, was malnourished, but avoided dangers.

Somehow the dreamer dreamed that he won two hundred thousand, but when he woke up, he found out that his head was “sticking out” out of the hole. Almost every day at his burrow he was in danger and, avoiding another, he exclaimed with relief: “Glory to you, Lord, is alive!”.

Afraid of everything in the world, the piskar did not marry and had no children. He believed that earlier “the pikes were kinder and dipped on us, the fry, they did not bury themselves,” so his father could still afford a family, and he “would like to live on his own”.

The wise pisar has lived thus more than a hundred years. He had no friends, no relatives. “He does not play cards, he does not drink wine, does not smoke tobacco, he does not chase the red girls.” Already the pikes began to praise him, hoping that the pisarer

would listen to them and get out of the burrow.

“How many years after hundred years – it is not known, only the wise piskar began to die.” Reflecting on his own life, the pisar understands that he is “useless” and if everyone lived like that, then “the whole genus of the pisaria would have been translated long ago.” He decided to get out of the hole and “swam across the river with a gogol”, but again he got scared and trembled.

Fishes swam past his burrows, but no one was interested in how he lived up to a hundred. And wise nobody called him – only “dunce”, “fool and sham”.

Piskar falls into oblivion and here once again he dreamed of an old dream, how he won two hundred thousand, and even “grew on whole polarshins and pikes himself”. In a dream the piskar accidentally fell out of the hole and suddenly disappeared. Perhaps his pike swallowed, but “most likely – he himself died, because what sweetness does a pike ingest a sick, dying piskar, and besides a wise one?”.


In the fairy tale “The Wisecracker”, Saltykov-Shchedrin reflected the contemporary social phenomenon, widespread among the intelligentsia, which was preoccupied only with its own survival. Despite the fact that the work was written more than a hundred years ago, it does not lose its relevance today.

We recommend not to be limited to a short retelling of the “Wise Minnow”, but to read the fairy tale completely.

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Summary “The wise gudgeon”