Showing hunger and impoverishment in the village in winter. Tanya – a little girl – is sleeping on the stove with her brother Vaska (their father Korney and mother Mary). The family had to sell the cow and for a pittance the horse. But there is still nothing to feed the children with nothing. Therefore, the mother sends the children from the very morning to walk on the street (to the pond), and early in the evening puts them to bed, so that they do not ask. At the very Mary’s heart is broken from pain, and she tells about the plight of the stranger who spent the night in their house. The way Tanya “gurgled”, heard Tanya, awakened from the cold. She decides to run to the street at once on a winter morning, so that her mother does not cry. Frozen, she is picked up by the gentleman Pavel Antonych and carries to his house (he is an old man, assiduous owner, his wife died, he had to release the serfs, the student son was exiled to Siberia, the master is lonely). He wanted to warm up and feed the frozen child. Pavel Antonych showed Tanya how the clock played, gave her tea with milk, sang her songs to the guitar. At the same time he thinks about the future that awaits her, thinks about starving people in the villages. In the evening, he takes Tanya home in a sleigh. She dreams about the garden, the stars, Vaska, the clock, the mother.