An old garden, in a willow garden. In the back of the house, three windows of the lower floor are lit. Father is sitting by the fireplace. The mother leans her elbows on the table and looks into the void. Two young girls in white embroider. Leaning head on the mother’s left hand, the child is dozing. The Old Man and the Stranger cautiously enter the garden.
They see if all the households are in place, and talk, deciding how best to let them know about the death of the third sister. The old man believes that it is necessary to go together: misfortune, which is reported by more than one person, is not so difficult. He looks for words to tell about what happened: “When she was found, she sailed along the river, and her hands were folded…” The stranger corrects him – the girl’s arms were stretched along the body. It was the Stranger who noticed and drew the drowned woman. The old man recalls how he met a drowned girl in the morning at the church. “She smiled the way those who do not want to talk, who are afraid that they have not been solved…” smile. Every person has many reasons not to live, the Old Man argues. You can not look into the soul like you are in a room. The Stranger and the Old Man observe the peaceful, ordinary life of the family. Families, which it seems, that she was safe: on the grill windows, the doors were bolted. The stranger tries to go tell about the incident, fearing that someone will report the terrible news, not preparing relatives. The granddaughter of the Old Man, Maria enters. She reports that the peasants go and carry the drowned woman on stretchers from the branches. The old man tells Maria to look out the window: “You will understand at least a little what life is…”
Inside the house, the sisters approach the windows and peer into the darkness. Then they kiss the mother. The older one...strokes the child, but he does not wake up. Girls approach their father. These simple, miserly movements fascinate the observant from the garden of the Old Man, his granddaughter and Stranger. Now Mary asks her grandfather not to inform the relatives of the deceased girl about the misfortune. The old man is ready to agree with her and not tell them anything until the morning, but it’s too late – the crowd with the body has already approached the house. Another granddaughter of the Old Man, Martha, appears. Realizing that the grandfather had not said anything yet, she was ready to go into the house with the bad news herself. The old man tells her to stay and not look out the window, so as not to see “what a human face becomes when death passes before her eyes.”
They begin to hear prayers. Part of the crowd enters the garden. There are muffled steps and a low voice. The old man leaves for the house. Martha and Maria sit on the bench with their backs to the windows. The stranger looks out the window and comments on what is happening. That’s all they listen to – probably, the Old Man knocked on the door. Father goes to open. All rise, only the child, having bent head to one side, sleeps in an armchair. The old man hesitates. But at last terrible words were uttered. Mother, father and both girls rush to the door, but the father does not immediately manage to open it. The old man tries to keep his mother. The crowd in the garden dissipates. Only the Stranger continues to stand under the window. At last the doors of the house swing open wide, all come out simultaneously. In the light of the stars and the moon, you can see how the drowned woman is carried on a stretcher. And in the middle of an empty room, in a chair, the child is still sleeping in a sweet dream. Silence. “The child did not wake up!