The Oaklings (Bunin)

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The Oaklings
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A young man fell in love with a married woman, leading to a tragic end when her husband discovered their affair and killed her in a fit of rage.

In his early twenties, a young man was granted leave from his military duties and returned to his family estate in Ryazan.

The Narrator — narrator; young, passionate, and naive; a cornet in the Guards.

He fell in love with Anfisa, the wife of the village headman, Lavr.

Anfisa — beautiful, taciturn, and passionate; wife of the village headman.

Anfisa was much younger than her husband and the young man was attracted to her exotic beauty. He spent his days visiting their home under the pretense of discussing estate management.

As his leave was coming to an end, Anfisa confessed her feelings for him and asked him to spend his last evening with her.

Master, he’ll be leaving for town tomorrow and staying overnight – come here to me and while away the evening in farewell.

The young man was thrilled and planned to secretly meet her. However, Lavr unexpectedly returned home during their rendezvous.

Lavr — village headman; strong, bearded, and jealous; Anfisa's husband.

The young man left immediately, but Lavr had already suspected their affair.

I really don’t know, sir, how you’ll get back now. But it’s high time you were going, your horse is all covered in snow, it’s standing all bent over…

The next morning, the young man received news that Lavr had hanged Anfisa and reported her death as a suicide.

Neighbours, I’ve had a calamity. My wife has hanged herself – her mind was obviously disturbed.

However, Lavr's face was covered in scratches and his beard was torn out, indicating a struggle. The villagers didn't believe Lavr's story and he was sent to Siberia for his crime.