In St. Petesburg Collegiate Assessor Kovalyov wakes up one morning and discovers that his nose is missing. Elsewhere in the city, Kovalyov's barber finds the nose in his breakfast roll. The barber, wishing to disassociate himself from this strange incident, tosses the nose into the Neva River. A little later, Kovalyov sees his nose riding in an elegant carriage and wearing the uniform of a State Councillor (a higher rank than Kovalyov's). Kovalyov demands that the nose give itself up, but is rudely rebuffed.