In Summer, from the invention of a pin, five hundred and forty-first, when the month is clear, and you can not follow the numbers, Ilya Petrikeevich Dzynzirela writes to the investigator for special affairs Sidor Fomich the Elder about his life. He complains about the Small-Pole jailers who stole his crutches and left without support. Ilya Petrikeich works as a grinder in the artel of invalids named after D. Zatyonnik. He lives, like other artel workers, in the Zavolchye – in the area beyond the Volga River. Another name for the river is Itil, and, therefore, the terrain can be called the same as the story of Ilya Petrikeich, Zaitilshchina.
Ilya lives with a baby, to which he has nailed on his cripple: he has no leg. But he loves a very different woman – Orin Neklin. Love for Orina did not bring him happiness. Working at the railway station, Orina walked with all the “repair ham.” She had been like that for a long time – even when a young girl in Anapa laughed with all the Mariupol sailors. And all who belonged to this woman, they can not forget her, just like Ilya Petrikeich. Where now Orina, he does not know: either died under the wheels of the train, or left with their son in an unknown direction. The image of Orina flickers, doubles in his mind – just as the images of native Zavolchye and its inhabitants flicker and multiply. But constantly arise among them, turning into each other, the Wolf and the Dog. With such a strange “middle”
In Zavolchye there are villages Gorodishche, Bydogoscha, Vyshelbaushi, Mylomukomolovo. After work, residents of Zavolchye – grinders, scavengers, fishermen, huntsmen – go into “toshnilovka”, nicknamed by some newcomer “kubare”, to drink “sivoldaya.” They remember the simple truth of life: “With friends not to walk – then why pull the strap?”
The story of Zavolchya is written not only by Ivan Petrikeich, but also by the Stormy Hunter. Like Dzyunzirala, he loves the hour between wolves and dogs – twilight, when “affection is mixed with anguish”. But unlike Dzynzyrily, which is expressed intricately, Hunter writes his “Stalkers of the story” in classically simple verse. He describes the fate of the inhabitants of Zavolchye.
In his chronicle – the story of “caliki from calico,” the deaf and deaf man of Nikolai Ugodnikov. Nicholas’s wife
got along with the wolf-dog and got Ugodnikov out of the yard. Neither in the shelters, nor in the almshouse Nicholas was not accepted, only the artel for the collection of scraps warmed it. Once the artel went to the tailor to stay. The scavengers took the wine and “poured themselves into the rags.” Waking up in the morning, they saw the flying Nikolai Ugodnikov. Over his head, like two wings, crutches were raised. No one else saw him.
Another hero of the Chronic Hunter’s chronicle is Tatar Aladdin Batrutdinov. Aladdin once went ice-skating to the cinema through a frozen river and fell into a rut. He swam only a year later – “in the pockets of the cuckoo and dominoe, and the fish is wasted by the mouths.” Grandfather Peter and grandfather Paul, who caught Aladdin, broke the cuckoo, played dominoes and called someone to follow.
Many of those described by the Stormy Hunter are in the Bydgoszcz Pogost. There lies Peter, nicknamed Bagore, who was called Fyodor, and he himself called himself Egor. At the dispute, he hanged himself on a stolen slug. The hunchbacked carrier, Pavel, is lying in the cemetery. He thought that the grave would save him from the hump, and so he drowned. A Gury-Hunter drank berdanku and died of grief.
The drunken hunter loves his countrymen and his Zavolchye. Looking in the window of his house, he sees the same picture that Peter Bruegel saw, and exclaims: “Here it is, my homeland, / Poor poverty, / And beautiful is our life / Notorious vanity!”
At a time between a dog and a wolf, it is difficult to distinguish images of people and human destinies. It seems that Ilya Petrikeich is going into oblivion, but his story continues. However, maybe he does not die. After all, his name changes: he is Dzyunzirala, then Zinzyrella… Yes, he himself does not know where, having scooped up “the feces of human passions,” he picked up such a gypsy name! Just as differently explains the circumstances under which he became a cripple.
“Or are my words hidden to you?” – Ilya Petrikeich asks in the last lines of his Zaitil’shchina.