Once, in the village of Q., or perhaps it was the village of L., for the two villages were very easily confused as they looked the same (same filthy hovels, same large dry goods store run by a shifty corpulent named Sergei with a protuberant growth on his neck) and even shared a village idiot who spent Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Q. and Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in L. (Sundays he rested up at his comfortable dacha in the country, reading Schopenhauer and writing in his journal), once, we repeat, in one of these two villages, let us say Q. for convenience, although that will no doubt make unhappy the good citizens of L., once, we say again, there lived a very bored wife by the name of Fedoriya whose husband, a wealthy landowner, owned a whole shitload of serfs, or souls as they were often called, he must have owned a thousand of them. And Fedoriya, who was bored shitless in the great novelistic tradition of Karenina, Bovary, et al. because she had absolutely nothing to do all day but read trashy French novels and nip at the bottle of vodka she kept under the bed, openly despised her husband, because he was boorish and petty and preoccupied and had a large head that looked like poorly sculpted suet with hair sprouting from the most unattractive places, like the mouth for instance, well okay not the mouth but the ears and the nose for instance, and really it was both an unedifying and unpleasant experience even having to be in the same village with him, much less the same bed, so who could blame her for running off with a dashing cavalry officer from the nearby garrison, which was her plan but so far she'd had no luck implementing it because her husband, who was of the jealous sort, a despot really, insisted she go everywhere accompanied by his trusty lacky, the serf Dmitri. Dmitri! We could write a whole book about him. He was intelligent, even more intelligent than the village idiot, and unscrupulous, but loyal to his owner up to a point, and he would have made a fine lawyer but for his unfortunate habit of telling the truth, which made him unattractive to everyone and not sombody you wanted to be around. Anyway, Fedoriya was the unhappiest woman in Q., and even the village of L., which stood across the river from Q. and hence was visible from Q., the people in Q. often waved to the people in L. and vice versa, although the waves were not genuine because the people in Q. secretly hated the people in L. almost as much as the people in L. hated the people in Q., due to the jealousy the latter felt toward the former over this story, and another story which was also situated in the village of Q., which led the people in L. to skulk about saying, "What's wrong with us that no one ever situates a story here, we also have a village idiot and a church with an onion dome that catches fire every year like clockwork, and a tanning factory, and even a summer pogrom program for the kids, where they get to run amok in the shtetl and hence keep out of trouble." Perhaps if Fedoriya had had children. But she had no children, and wanted no children, not even a little girl she could dress up like a doll and lead by the tiny dewy hand down the street so as to excite the admiration of her neighbors, one of whom, the village doctor, was a lonely old dowager with alchemical aspirations. Fedoriya sometimes found herself wishing she was a tree, a weeping willow to be exact, drooping over the bank of the river, which was nothing to write home about due to the run off from the Q. and L. tanning factories. You wouldn't want to swim in the river, which froze in the winter so that you could walk from Q. to L. not that anyone bothered, for the two villages as we've said looked exactly the same and why cross a river to walk down a street identical in every way to the street you don't have to cross a river to walk down, people are stupid but they are not idiots. Fedoriya owned a large blue hat that she one day, in a petty transport of anger, tossed into the air. It never came back down. This was the biggest mystery of this pointless story, and the trivial incident referred to in the title. The hat simply disappeared, as if instead of obeying the laws of gravity it simply kept rising, up into the clouds, which cover Q. and L. alike, and occasionally drizzle rain upon them, out of sheer spite.