Nikolai Gogol's short story is a sublime work of tragi-comedy. In it, he brilliantly ridicules the Ukrainian passion for litigation and reveals life as something really rather absurd. Ivan Ivanovich and Ivan Nikiforovich are the greatest of friends--until the day they begin a foolish quarrel that culminates in that very worst of insults: "And you, Ivan Ivanovich, are a goose." From that moment on, not another word is spoken between them as they choose instead to fight out their differences in the courts. But it seems theirs is a lawsuit that is set to run for years and years.