1933 year. It’s a dry summer. All the population of the Far Eastern village moves to the zaimki to clean the rye and wheat that has survived. In the village there are old people and children. Vitin dog Sharik howls, calling, according to the grandmother, trouble. And trouble comes.
The hatch of Auntoni’s aunt is about six versts from the village. There she removes the harvest, leaving three sons at home, the youngest of whom only three years old.
Lossing on the mother, the brothers go to the zaimku, overcome the mountain river, the taiga saddle, the red-hot gorge and unscathed get to the zaimka. Younger Petenka is getting tired still halfway, and the elders persuade him to go, promising to bring him to Mama. At the end of the path, they take turns dragging him on the coasters.
Tired brothers sit under a canopy and fall asleep. Petenka decides to go to her mother.
The higher the water level rose, the deeper and deeper it became, and on the washed, collapsed ridge, over the upward groove, pierced by a snowman to the roadside ditch, Petenka wandered off the road.
Meanwhile, Apronia is thinking about children. She put up gifts, collected berries in the forest and wants to run into the village in the evening. Suddenly, she sees in the flawed curly heads of older sons, but only the younger with them there. They searched for Petenka for many days, but they could not find it. There was not a drop of blood left of the boy, not a scrap of clothing.
Forty years passed. Aprronya nurse her grandchildren, buried her family, but never for a moment forgot about Petenka. Native mourners are devoted to the earth, and the child’s soul is wandering somewhere in unknown spaces. And everything is dreaming of Apron, as a boy in a white shirt walks away along the path between tall loaves.