Earlier, 12-year old Vasya Mandzhura with friends – Yusik Starodomsky nicknamed Kunitsa, Petka Maremukha and Sasha Bobyr – studied at the city’s higher school. Most of all the teachers liked the historian Lazarev. He told many interesting things about the Old Fortress towering above the border Ukrainian town, and even promised to take the guys into the underground passage that began near the fortress.
Lazarev promised not to fulfill his promise – Petliura’s army entered the city. Shortly before that Vasya’s neighbor, Ivan Omelusty, brought a stranger to their house and asked them to hide until the return of the Red Army. The next morning the stranger disappeared, and a new power was established in the city. First of all, the Petliurists tried to seize all the Communists who remained in the town, including the Mistletoe. Vasya and Kunitsa saw how he fired from the Petlyuraites from the tower of the Old Fortress.
Soon it became known that the new authorities are going to force Vasya’s father, the typographer’s compositor Miron Manjuru, to print Petlyura money. Not wishing to become a counterfeiter, Miron went to his brother in the village of Nagoryany, and Vasya remained with his aunt Mary Afanasyevna. I had to part with Vasya and my beloved teacher. The Primary School became a gymnasium with a new teaching staff. Lazarev with Petlyura’s power was not following the path.
From the first days of study, the company of friends fell apart. Petya Maremukha joined the “cute and boastful high school student Kotka Grigorenko,” the son of the chief doctor of the city hospital. The Maremukha family filmed an outbuilding in the former estate owned by Dr. Grigorenko. After that, Sashka Bobyr turned to Kotka. He was afraid that the doctor’s son would tell Petlyura officers about his main wealth-the bulldog’s revolver. In the gymnasium, the study of the Russian language and general history was banned, and portraits of Russian writers were taken off the walls.
Soon Vasya was in trouble. During the solemn evening, at which Petlyura himself was present, the boy read the wrong poems, for which he was beaten and thrown into the school cell. From there the boy was rescued by faithful friends, giving a bribe to the watchman Nikifor. After this, a fight broke out between Vasya and Kotka, because of which Manjur was expelled from the gymnasium. Aunt Vasya lied that he had ringworm. He did not tell the truth and best friend Kunits.
One day, friends gathered in a campaign for cherries, which grew in the courtyard of the Old Fortress. Making their way at dawn past the watchman, the guys saw how a gang of Petlyura men shot a thin and sick man in the serf-yard. Vasya recognized in him a stranger who was brought to their house by the Mistletoe one night, and Kunitsa, a Bolshevik, caught on the eve of the Old Manor. The death of the executed witnessed by Dr. Grigorenko.
In the morning the whole gymnasium learned that Manjur was expelled. During the day, Maremukh was asked to join their company. The head of the scouts ordered him to flog, and Petya did not want to return to them. In the evening, having secured the consent of the watchman of the Old Fortress, the children covered the grave of the executed hero with flowers and vowed to always protect each other and help those who fight for Soviet power. Then the boys went to the house of Grigorenko and made a school – they overturned a burning lamp on the veranda, from which a small fire happened.
At night Vasya could not sleep. He remembered his father. When the boy’s mother was alive, the Manjurs lived in another city. Myron drank heavily. From the printing house he was not expelled just because he was able to type texts in different languages. Unable to withstand such a life, her mother left for her sister in Odessa, intending to later take her son, but on the way the steamer ran into a German mine, and the woman died. Then Miron moved to live with his sister.
In the morning Petka and Kunitsa told Vasya that they wanted to arrest him for arson. Kunitsa advised me to go to the Reds, and Vasya agreed, but at first decided to visit his father. Uncle greeted the guests joyfully and whispered to his nephew that Miron was trying to arrest him, so he was hiding. Uncle too was at odds with Petlyura’s power and supported his brother.
In the morning Vasya took his friends to the famous Fox Caves in the whole district, where he met his father. Myron and Ivan Omelyusty hid in these caves a small printing-house, where revolutionary newspapers were printed. The guys told Omelustom about the shooting of an unknown communist. This man, Timothy Sergushin, the family of the Misty had sheltered when he, sick and dying of hunger, was returning from German captivity. After the Reds expelled from the city Hetman, Sergushin went to the army, where he met many fellow countrymen from the Donbass. With him went to the red and Ivan. When Petliura’s troops burst into the city, Timofey was seriously ill and had not time to leave with the Reds. After spending the night with Myron, he hid from Maremukh, where he was found by Dr. Grigorenko.
Suddenly, a scout squad came up to the Nagornians. The guys were afraid that the panichi would crawl into the Fox Cave. They gathered a squad of local boys and attacked the scouts. Using instead of bombs bottles of water and lime, the guys gave the panic “a decisive battle and captured their banner.
The children returned to the city on time – the commotion began. The streets were swarming with armed Petliurists, reds approached the city. Then another “defector” joined the boys – Sashka Bobyr. The offensive of the red guys decided to observe from the cottage of the shoemaker Maremukha. There they came upon Myron with his brother and Mistletoe, who were preparing to shoot the retreating Petlyura from the machine gun.
Towards evening the city was taken. At Manjur settled down lodger – the red commander Nestor Varnovich Polevoy. Two weeks later, Maremukha reported that they had Dr. Grigorenko living in the wing, the house of which had been requisitioned by the Bolsheviks. The boys showed Sergushin’s Homel tomb, and a week later it was adorned with a simple monument of smooth marble, surrounded by an iron grating.
A week later, Dr. Grigorenko and his wife were arrested. On the same day Vasya was invited by registered letter to the district Cheka. Arriving there the next day, the boy was happy to see that the Chekists had summoned Marten. The boys testified against the doctor, telling about his participation in the execution of Sergushin.
A few days later Kunitsa said that he was leaving for Kiev to see his uncle, who undertook to arrange a nephew in a seagoing school. A friend escorted the whole company. Маремуха has informed, that Котька together with mother has lodged at the former director of a grammar school, and doctors and have not let out.
Later in the fall, lessons began in the Taras Shevchenko First Labor School, which replaced the gymnasium and was headed by a beloved historian. He fulfilled his promise and showed the guys a subterranean passage. A little later in the class Vasin appeared Kotka Grigorenko, and at school they began to study political teaching.
The Uyezd Party Committee sent Miron Manjur to work with the Sovnest School, where he was to arrange a small printing press. Since all the employees of the soviet boarding school lived on state apartments, I had to move to the family of Myron. Before leaving Vasya he traded a Sauer gun from Maremukha. Going to Petka for the Sower, the boys walked past the tin-work shop, where he worked as an apprentice, Kotka Grigorenko. Having publicly abandoned his parents, Kotka became a simple worker and settled with the gardener Korybko. Giving Vasya a gun, Petya told about the ghost of a nun who lives in the building of a soviet school – a former convent.
Manjuram took a spacious two-bedroom apartment with two kitchens. One of them, separated from the rooms by a corridor, was occupied by Vasya. Exploring the large garden of the school, the boy came across Kotka – here he let Korybko. Soon Vasya once again encountered his enemy. Grigorenko took care of Galya Kushnir, who liked the boy very much.
Soon to visit Vasya visited Maremukh. When it was dark, the friends went to the garden to test the Sauer. With a shot they frightened off some man who fired back and fled. In the morning Vasya found in the bushes a spoon and an aluminum bowl.
Again meeting with Galya, Vasya found out that Kotka had taken her to the most expensive confectionery in the city. The boy decided to outbid Kotka. The only wealth of Mary Afanasyevna’s aunt was six silver spoons. She kept them as a “dowry” for Vasya. Deciding that the spoon was already his, the boy stole three, and sold them to the jeweler.
Meanwhile, Field allowed Vasya to visit the Komsomol cell, but at the first meeting Vasya was without him, and the boy was expelled. That same evening Vasya invited Galya to the bakery. They enjoyed cakes when Miron saw them through a large window. Vasya returned home when everyone was asleep. Suddenly, from behind the Old Fortress, shots were heard, and the cadets rose in alarm. Soon in the courtyard of the Soviet school there was one sentry, cadet Marushchak. Suddenly Vasya heard a bell rang in the school building. They ran for a long time along the dark corridors, but neither the bell nor the joker calling him was found. Vasya told Marushchak how he and Petya found an armed stranger in the garden, and about a ghost living in the Sovshkosh school.
Soon Marya Afanasyevna discovered the loss of spoons. Then the father came to Vasilissa’s kitchen and began to inquire how much the son had feasted at the confectioner’s. It was not possible to get out, I had to confess. To redeem the spoons went together. On the way back, Vasya began to ask his father not to talk to anyone about the spoons, but he did not promise anything, and, getting angry, threw the spoons into the river. Aunt Miron said that he gave them to the commission to help the homeless.
Prior to enrolling in rabfak, his father invited him to work in a state farm sponsored by the soviet party, and Vasya left before he had time to say goodbye to his friends. The first night the whole team spent in the hayloft. In the evening Polevoi sent Vasya to the garden to break the plum branches for tea. To his boy decided to return to the street. Jumping over the fence, he frightened the man with a rifle in his hand. Cadets combed the garden, but no one was found.
Washu was assigned as an assistant to Nikita Fedorovich Kolomeits, the very same cadet who exposed the boy from the Komsomol meeting. First they knitted sheaves, then worked on a threshing machine. Nikita was not much older than Vasya, and the guys became friends. The brigade was located in the former landowner’s estate, and the friends took a cozy balcony, entwined with wild grapes. Soon on the balcony was started a wasp, and the guys moved to a stack of straw at the thresher. A couple of days Kolomeets was too lazy to go to the haystack, and Vasya decided to spend the night alone. At night, the boy was awakened by a collective farm dog – he barked strangers who crept up to the thresher. The bandits wanted to set fire to the haystack and shoot the cadets who had escaped to the fire. Vasya rushed to run to warn his comrades, but he stumbled and dislocated his leg. He had to open fire from the Sauer. In response, the bandits threw a grenade,
The boy woke up in the hospital. He did not remember how he was transported to the city, and as a doctor he extracted fragments stuck in the cranial bones, cut out a broken rib and fixed a sprained leg. From Kolomeyets Vasya learned that the wounded people were going to help a local gang. In the city, the bandits had an accomplice – the gardener Korybko. Nobody guessed that the gardener has an adult son, who once served as General Pilsudski. When the general was driven from Ukraine, the guy was recruited by British intelligence. Here, the father was useful to the agent. It was his Vasya and Petka who frightened off the Sovietschool in the garden. Suspecting Korybko, Marushchak... found a note from his son and a Mauser hidden in the chimney. After the arrest of the old man, the room was searched again and found an iron ring in the chimney, jerking for which was heard a bell ringing – the ring was connected with a bell, walled in the wall.
Galya and Maremukha, who came to visit the boy, said that Kotka Grigorenko was going to become a Komsomol member. Then Polevoy came into the ward and invited the boys to go to the school of factory apprenticeship, the director of which he was appointed.
The guys agreed to jointly give a “challenge” to Kotka Grigorenko at the Komsomol meeting, but it turned out that Kotka wrote all the truth about himself in the questionnaire, and there was nothing to add to Manjur. Then Kolomeets came forward and proved the connection between Kotka and the gardener. Grigorenko was not accepted into the Komsomol.
A month later the guys had already studied at the factory factory. Vasya decided to become a foundry, Maremukh – a turner, Sashka Bobyr learned to repair engines, and Galya stood up for a metalwork machine.
Vasya Mandzhura lived with friends in the hostel of the factory commander. Father and aunt moved to Cherkasy, where a new printing house was opened. Walking on Sunday along the main street of the city, friends saw a fight in one of the pubs. The scandal was arranged by a classmate of the guys on the factory commander Yashka Tiktor. Komsomolets was drunk. The guys tried to lead Tiktor before the arrival of the police.
The guys dragged Yashka home when the shots rang out – a signal of Chonov’s alarm. They hurried to the main headquarters of the CHON, where everyone was given weapons. Senior Chonovtsy went to the border with the Polish land, and the students were ordered to guard the weapons warehouses. Vasya got the most dangerous post. Suddenly he heard Sashka Bobyr shouting – he noticed someone, but did not have time to shoot, an unknown person went on the roofs. The persecutors found a blood stain on the porch of one of the houses and the bikfordov cord with a fuse in the attic of the warehouse.
Six months before the end of the factory factory in the town, “suddenly a new head of the district department of public education of Pecheritsa arrived from Kharkov,” a short man with a very fluffy red mustache. He ordered the dismissal of all Russian-speaking teachers, and then decided to close the factory staff completely. The nationalist Pecheritsa did not believe that Ukraine would soon need workers’ hands. At the Komsomol meeting, the guys decided to send Manjur to the Kharkov Central Committee of the Komsomol.
On the way Vasya collected a large sum of money. On the train the boy was an unexpected fellow traveler – Pecheritsa. He was without a mustache, spoke Russian and pretended that he did not recognize Manjur. Pecheritsa asked Vasya to show his ticket to the inspector, lay down on the shelf and fell asleep. Soon Vasya fell asleep. When the boy woke up, he found that his neighbor had disappeared. The ticket, which was left at Vasya, was issued in the name of student Prokopy Shevchuk.
Arriving in Kharkov, Vasya could not resist, and decided to go to the cinema. After the session the boy discovered that he had been robbed. He spent the night at the station, and in the morning he went to the Central Committee. Wandering through the big building, Vasya came across the secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik), whose photograph he saw in the newspaper. The boy told him about Pecheritsa and that he was robbed. The secretary promised to help the factory commander and arranged for the boy to spend the night.
Home Manjura returned the winner. Learning that a boy was traveling to Kharkov together with Pecheritsa, Kolomeets dragged him to the authorized border detachment Vukovich. Then the boy got to the head of the regional GPU, who repeated his story about Pecheritsa. After Kolomeets said that Pecheritsa was an enemy agent. It was on his porch found a blood stain. The blood belonged to a wounded gangster, who could not be arrested that night. Bandit Vukovich detained, and Pecheritsa managed to escape. Vasya long regretted that he did not think to detain him.
After some time Vasya found out that Yashka Tiktor insists on his expulsion from the Komsomol because he was traveling in the same car with Pecheritsa and deliberately did not detain him. At the meeting, Tiktor was not taken seriously at the meeting, and he himself was expelled from the Komsomol for drunkenness and casting during the working hours of details for handicraft workshops.
A week before the end of the factory factory, directions came from Kharkov. The pupils were distributed to the factories of large cities of Ukraine. Vasya with Petka Meremukha, Sasha Bobyr and Tiktor got into the Azov city. Yashka did not want to stay in their company, and the guys took off the cozy attic of an elderly woman. Descending to the sea, the boys saw a girl who was swimming, despite the storm.
The next day the friends went to the machine-building plant, but the head of the labor department, dressed and pomaded dandy, told them that there were no places at the factory. The only vacancy was occupied by Yashka Tiktor, who was the first. Deciding not to stand up, Vasya went to the director of the plant. He listened to the guys and found places for them in their specialty. So Manjura became a disciple of an experienced caster Vasily Naumenko. Yashka Tektor got to the factory drunkard Enut, nicknamed Kashket.
Soon the friends found out that in a beautiful house next door there lives a girl bathing in the stormy sea. It was Angelica, the daughter of the chief engineer of the plant. She was courted by the dandy Zyuzya Trituzny from the labor department, who was kept at the plant only because he played football well.
All this time Sashka Bobyr dreamed of catching Pecheritsa, so he “saw” it at every station. He saw the enemy and the station of a seaside town, but the guys did not believe him, and then Sasha decided to write a statement to the head of the city department of the GPU.
Vasya met with the local Komsomol leader Anatoly Golovatsky. Tolya dreamed of liquidating the dance salon of Madame Rogal-Piontkovsky, where practically all the young people of the city lost their lives. He believed that the toesteps, foxtrot and mazurkas taught by Madame corrupted young people. Promising to see what was happening to Madame, Vasya went to the salon and on the way saw a man strikingly resembling Vukovich.
In the salon Vasya met Angelica. Making sure that Charleston guy is not given, Lika invited him to ride a boat. During the walk, Vasya realized that Angelica was brought up in a philistine family. She dreamed of a cozy home, alone, “forgetting the worldly vanity and going to the realm of dreams.” Vasya liked the girl, but they spoke different languages. The guy decided that Lika is incorrigible. Finally he was convinced of this at a dinner with the chief engineer Andrykhnevich, who worked at the plant even under the tsarist rule. Stefan Medarovich believed that the young Soviet Republic had no future, and waited impatiently for the return of the old days.
With each passing day, Mandzhura was increasingly drawn into the hard work of the caster. His friends, too, did not lag behind. Bobyr joined the aviation circle. Tektor meanwhile finally came under the influence of Kashket – the most malicious “scavenger” in the shop. Vasya constantly corresponded with classmates at the factory factory and Kolomeits. In one of the letters sent back, Nikita asked me to help him buy five self-cropping harvesters for the sponsored state farm. With instructions Kolomeitsa Vasya went to the director of the plant, but he refused – the plant did not have enough cast iron. And then Vasya remembered about the iron scrap, which was very much in the vicinity of his native town. He sent Kolomeits a telegram with the order to collect this scrap as much as possible.
To fill out the details of the harvesters from the scrap collected by Nikita, they organized a subbotnik. It involved not only Komsomol members, but also experienced workers. After the subbotnik Nikita told about Pecheritsa. Fleeing from the persecution of the GPU, the traitor killed a student Prokopiya Shevchuk and under his name settled in one of the German colonies of Tavria. Then, again changing his name, Pecheritsa moved to the Azov city, where he saw Bobyr, whose statement greatly helped the investigation. Following the traitor in the city appeared Vukovich, accidentally caught in the eyes of Vasya. Soon Pecheritsa was arrested.
Having talked to one of the oldest founders and communists of the plant, Vasya was surprised to realize that he does not consider the eighteen-year-old Yashka Tiktor to be lost, and believes that he can be directed to the right path. Manjura was convinced of this, accidentally hearing the conversation between Tiktor and Golovatsky. It turned out that her stepmother did not give Yashka, and that she had to take private orders to feed herself. He began to drink when his friends turned away from him.
Soon the members of the foundry’s Komsomol organized a Sunday, to which Tiktor also came. The guys cleared the shop of parched sand and debris, making room for new molding machines. Under the sand, the Komsomol found a mine, laid down even under Wrangel. Apparently, during the retreat, the enemies of the Soviet regime wanted to blow up the open-hearth, but did not have time.
Soon the Komsomol members gave battle to the dance saloon. The actors of the drama circle showed a parody of the regulars of the salon. It was for everyone, including Zyuza Trituznoy, who came to the play with Angelica. Zyuzya left the hall indignantly, and Lika remained with Vasya. The guy has long decided that for Angelica, as for Yashka Tiktor, it is worth fighting. Lika confessed that she does not tire out such a life, but she can not free herself, and she is waiting for a strong person who will help her. She was counting on Vasya for help and was very upset when he waved his hand at her. Manjura advised her to start life first in another city. Soon Lika went to her aunt in Leningrad and entered the conservatory.
After the performance of the Komsomol members, the factory director immediately rallied and reported on the sabotage. In the stokehold and near the foundry stoves, mines were found, which Kashket had to blow up. He was recruited by Madame Rogal-Piontkovsky, who covered “secret subversive work against the Soviet state with the sign of a peaceful dance class.” It was to her and made his way Pecheritsa. After arresting him, Vukovich tied together all the threads of this intricate affair. Miss Madame Rogal-Piontkovskaya did not manage to escape.
Some time later the guys were sent to Mariupol to the Komsomol district conference. They sailed on the steamer “Felix Dzerzhinsky”, the navigator of which was Yusik Starodomsky. Kunitsa swam for a long time, and even managed to become a communist. All night, friends talked, shared plans. Yusik was going to move to the Black Sea, and Vasya wanted to enter a working university and study without interruption.
Twenty years later, engineer Vasily Mandzhura returned to his hometown to wander through familiar streets and visit the Old Fortress. Vasily survived the siege of Leningrad, during which his father died, who by that time had moved to his son and worked at the Printing House. Rummaging through old magazines, Manjura came across an article about the German henchman Kostya Grigorenko.
While walking around the city, Vasily recalled his friends. His first love Galya Kushnir became a candidate of historical sciences before the war. Manjura still did not know whether she managed to leave Odessa in time. In the fortress Vasily discovered a historical museum-reserve. At the grave of Sergushin he collided with the lieutenant-colonel-tankman Peter Maremukh. Soon an old museum director approached them, in which friends recognized Lazarev. He described how the Red Army defended the Old Fortress, restraining the German offensive. The fortress was surrounded when a local resident got into it and offered to show the exact location of the enemy batteries. During this operation, the conductor, who was Yusik Starodomsky, was killed. In his hometown, he fell after a severe concussion.
They also remembered Sasha Bobyr – he died helping the Republican Spain. Angelica survived the blockade. Her first husband was killed, and now he and Manjura were going to get married.