“Serafimovich’s Iron Stream” in brief summary

The novel takes place after the revolution of 1917, during the Civil War.

A huge flow of people – either a camp of immigrants, or an army – entered the Cossack village. Cossacks are not alone, only women and children. On the mound near the windmill rally. The people shout, rebel, want to disperse, but nowhere – around the enemy. A man with iron jaws tries to persuade, but they bayonet at him, a cry is heard: “Hit them!”. Suddenly, everything was silent. A man galloped on horseback in blood: “The Cossacks are coming!”. They began to choose a commander. Chose an iron Casing.

The night, a tin kerosene lamp without glass, on the floor – a huge map of the Caucasus. The staff discusses the situation, but, if not, people are trapped: on the one side of the mountain, on the other – the sea. Commanders offer to take Novorossiysk and sit out there. The casing decided: go to Tuapse, cross the highway through the main ridge and

connect with the main forces. With Kozhukh do not agree, everyone is convinced of their rightness.

There was a distant shot, then sprinkled, as if from a sieve, and fell silent. The casing sent Prikhodko to find out what had happened. Alexei Prikhodko walked through a sleeping camp, reached a familiar place, there – Anka. A beautiful, handsome girl would marry her. And immediately the thin, delicate neck of the girl-the schoolgirl-emerges; blue eyes, white dress. The bride that he never saw, but that somewhere is. Prikhodko turned away from Anki, went on. Under one of the carts, a young mother cooing over a child. How much love and joy in her voice. Everyone has his own. Prihodko reported to Kozhukh and went to bed.

The night exploded with the sound of iron, clanking, crackling, screaming – Cossacks attacked. The casing sits in front of the hut, the face is calmly iron, gives orders. He sees how obediently and flexibly the soldiers carry out orders, how exactly commanders execute his orders. The wagon began to retreat across the bridge, and soon left the village. The bridge was destroyed.


Kuban is rich both in land and in its natural resources. The hosts here are Cossacks. They did not come by themselves – the tsarina Katka drove them here, destroyed the free Zaporozhskaya Sich. Then people were pulled by the Kuban. And the settlers began to work as farm-hands for the Cossacks. In October, something happened in a distant Russia, and the regiments of the Turkish front fell down. And in the Kuban already Soviet power, and the heads of officers are flying. Then it was time to divide the land, and the Kuban darkened, an internecine war broke out.

The bridge was rebuilt again, its Cossack troops quickly pass – they hurry to catch up with the red enemy.

They move, creaking, endless convoys. This is not the first time that immigrants have risen, but now it drags on for too long, the bread ends. Standing out in orderly rows, figures in Circassian coats, a column of Kuban Cossacks rides on good horses-not enemies, but revolutionaries, the Cossack poor.

Lovely looking at this crowd Casing, because he is one of them. At six years old she was a public shepherd. Then he was a boy in a bench near the kulak – he slowly learned and learned. Then the war, the Turkish front. Casing – a great machine gunner. For his unprecedented courage, he was sent to the school of ensigns. He with bullish perseverance overcame his studies – and cut himself off. They laughed around: a dumb animal crawls into officers. He was returned to the regiment as incapable. And one goal is to break out into people. The jacket is sent for the second time to the school of ensigns – the officers lack, and its soldiers love, for them it is their own. It was difficult to learn, scoffed, cut on the answers, although answered correctly. And sent to the regiment for disability. He is sent to school for the third time. And he achieved – contemptuously released ensign. He returned to the regiment – on his shoulders gold shoulder straps. Glittering on the shoulders separated from the soldiers, but did not bring them closer to the officers. An empty circle closed around the Casing. He calmly, stonyly hated and despised the officers. And suddenly the revolution swept over. The casing with disgust tore off his shoulder straps and returned home. In the villages, in the villages, in the villages – Soviet power. Traces of such hard-won shoulder straps burned their shoulders. Then the Kuban began to boil – and the Soviet power was swept away. And now the Casing is in the middle of the train.

At the last station tens of thousands of people lost their way in front of the mountains. Smolokurov and his column approached. Nobody wanted to go any further, but the Column’s column came forward – and all followed. And an infinite living snake crawled into the mountains. We walked all night. In the morning we went to the pass. Below, the city was white, and then the sea.

The German commandant, who was on the battleship Geben, noticed an unintended movement in the city. He gave orders that the convoy should stop, but the dusty gray snake slowly crawled away. In this endless stream, with the swearing of abuse, another stream of laden wagons began to pour in. The sailors could be seen on them. The commandant, not having waited for a stop, gave a salvo by train, then the second. The explosion turned Anka’s cart, the horse fell. A young mother killed a child. High on the pass appeared people, horses. And immediately there was a gasp four times. There, then people, horses, cows began to fall with a moan, but the snake did not creep anyway. The long trunk of the gun on the battleship rose, gasped with a huge tongue of flame, and crashed there, at the pass. From there they began to fire at the battleship. “Geben” came out of the bay, Turned and exploded with a deafening roar. From the inhuman tremor the earth was scattered, along all the streets appeared mutilated people, similar to the dead, crawled after the train. They do not take – there is nothing to feed. The train departs, and from the opposite side the Cossacks enter the city.

The night passed, the sun was already high, and the column was coming. The people began to murmur, the sailors poured oil on the fire, brandishing revolvers, calling for a riot against Kozhukh, recalling his officer’s past. At night they stopped. The fires of the fires were lit up, the talk was heard, the laughter, the sounds of the accordion. On one of the carts a terrible, silent woman holds the corpse of a child in her arms. We ought to bury him-he does not give it up. They ran after their husband, Stepan. And around people eat, sleep, sing, dance, tell. The sailors are walking around the camp, they are being beaten up, but the peasants are not listening to them, they are laughing. Stepan came running, took it, buried his son.

At last everyone fell asleep, only the window of a rich villa glows. There, the Couch bent over a huge map of the Caucasus. He is told that people were driven, that there is nothing to eat, but Kozhukh keeps saying: “We must go – this is salvation.” After long disputes, the order was signed: for violation of discipline, disobedience to the order – execution.

Morning. The train has been going for a long time. The second and third columns are far behind. When they stopped for the night, everyone also walked among the campfires, the sailors, but people did not laugh anymore – they listened. And just as in the empty dacha the command staff of all the columns assembled, there was not only the Casing. Each of them considered himself called to save these people, but no one knew how. Finally decided to choose the boss over all the columns. Chose a good-natured, but stubborn warrior Smolokurov. At once it became clear to everyone that the Casing was to blame. He forces everyone to follow him. Smolokurov decided to go by the short road through the ridge. Sent an order to Kozhukh, but he went further and was out of reach. Smolokurov had no choice but to follow.

At the next halt, the sailors came to the Couch with a huge crowd to demand provisions. “Become a member of the ranks of the army, we will enroll for a ration,” Kozhukh calmly replied. Suddenly the sailors rushed from all sides to the cart of the Casing. The machine gun in the wagon flashed, but not a single bullet struck people, but only the terrifying wind of death sailors’ caps. All rushed in all directions. The camp was quiet.

The sky did not have time to lighten up, and already the column’s head crawled along the highway. The small houses of the town were brightened. Bread of local residents, Greeks, no. They took all the goats. In the Russian village, who, as if found in a mountain valley, shared what they could, but still picked up all the chickens, geese and ducks. On the empty dacha found a gramophone and a bunch of records. The gramophone became the common favorite, screamed from morning till night.

The scout galloped up, reported: Cossacks ahead. Casing tried to separate the convoy with the women and children from the main army, so as not to interfere, but nothing happened. And again everyone walked along the highway, diving sometimes into the forest and stuffing their stomachs with wild apples, sour cabbage and unripe corn.

The road was blocked by a bridge. Behind the bridge – the enemies, on the sides of the mountain, you can go only forward. The casing ordered the Cossack detachment to take the bridge with a stroke. And they took it. Georgian units after the bridge rushed to leave, but only officers managed to escape.

The highway stretched a narrow corridor – on the sides clenched rocks. There is nothing to eat. The gorge was heard behind the turn. The mountain range blocked the way, and at the very top – the trenches of the enemy. You can not go – they are firing machine guns. The casing does not know what to do. Two men approached him. They met Russians in the forest who undertook to conduct a train bypass, mountain paths. Casing sent all three squadrons, gave the order: to go around from the rear, break into the city, destroy all.

A young, handsome Georgian prince, Colonel Mikheladze, himself chose this post. This he cut off the head of the poisonous crap, which creeps along the coast. An unbearably animal roar exploded all around. The colonel ran like a hare, but in his head one thing: to be saved at any cost. I did not escape – they hacked me with a sword.

The train crawled into the city. There are everything: clothes, medicines, ammunition; there is no food. They began to plunder the city, but Kozhukh quickly stopped it, forced to surrender all the loot in common use.

The infinitely wriggling snake again crawled into the mountains, to the pass, to slip back into the steppe, where the bread and feed, where they are waiting. By the evening the forests were over, they were drawn by the cold from the mountains. Suddenly a powerful stream of water poured down from the sky, occasionally illuminated by white flashes of lightning. Many people died that night. And in the morning – the road, the heat, the rocks. Children no longer cry – no strength. When the horse falls, the mothers carry the children in their arms, and if there are many of them, they leave it in the cart and leave without looking back. Finally the pass. The highway loops went down.

Kubanets from the roadway reported: about thirty versts ahead, beyond the river, the Cossacks are digging trenches. The casing decided to bypass them along the country road. People walked in a huge crowd, they heard salty jokes, shouted the gramophone. Suddenly, everything was silent: on the nearest telegraph poles hung four corpses – one of them female. On paper, nailed to the first pillar, it was written that these were executed Bolsheviks. The roar of footsteps sounded evenly and steadily, as if a man were walking alone, and all hearts were hammered, like one. Part after part comes to those pillars, and from the horde turns into an army, into an iron stream, and goes, more and more speeding up the pace.

At the exit of the highway from the mountains the Cossacks are eagerly waiting. They have information that gangs from the mountains carry with them immeasurable-looted riches. But not people, but devils piled on the Cossacks. Cossacks rushed in all directions, and when the sun rose, not one of them was alive. The casing is pleased: the army is in his hands, as an instrument, obedient and flexible. At night again storming, and again running Cossacks. The village is busy.

The Cossacks were defeated, but Kozhukh did not move from his place-the stragglers waited. The Cossacks gathered strength, and ammunition ended in Kozhukh. The casing collects the meeting, does not want to take responsibility for itself.

Far behind the rear, the Cossacks attacked the columns that had fallen behind. They thought they were easy prey to them, but they saw the devils and fled without looking back.

At the meeting they decided: to go on without waiting for the stragglers. The casing gave the order – to prepare for a breakthrough. Just before the breakthrough the column of Smolokurov approached. The breakthrough came with a devilish force. General Pokrovsky collected the remnants of the army and led to Ekaterinograd, completely clearing the “tramps” road.

Straining all the forces, there is an iron stream. The Cossack units without a shot part, liberating the road. The only goal is to catch up with their own, but the red parts quickly leave, burning bridges behind them. Then Kozhukh decided to send forward the messengers on the captured car. A young Selivanov called, took two soldiers with him. At the speed limit, they were reared to the position of the reds. The commanders did not believe Selivanov, read the intercepted radio telegram of General Pokrovsky to General Denikin. It reported that from the sea is an innumerable horde of tramps, all sweeping away on their way – both white and red. That’s why the Reds blew up bridges. They did not believe it, but, nevertheless, they decided to check, and the car goes back, accompanied by a cavalry squadron.

This night the sailors made the last attempt to destroy the Casing, but it failed.

The next morning, two armies met. One is tattered, but standing with an iron chain, and the other is full and dressed, but loosened up, demoralized. The casing got on the wagon and made a speech. Tears flowed down the weather-beaten faces, and it became clear to everyone what they were fighting for, starving, losing children. Not only for saving his life, but for the Soviet power. Sailors broke through to the wagon of the Casing, repented, asked for forgiveness, and called Kozhukh “dad”. Speakers were speaking until evening. People learned about the Red Army. Everyone has a growing sense of inextricability with the bulk that is called Soviet Russia.

Evening. A dream comes quietly. The fires go out. Silence. Blue night.

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“Serafimovich’s Iron Stream” in brief summary