The “Tale” begins with the fact that the author inscribes his story into the general biblical context and tells about the first sin of mankind, the sin of Adam and Eve. And now, as the Lord was angry once at the people, but while punishing, leads to the path of salvation, so the parents raise their children. The young parents are taught to live “in reason and gentleness.” Parents advise the young man not to go “to feasts and braches,” not to drink much, not to be attracted to women, to be afraid of stupid friends, not to deceive, not to take someone else’s, to choose reliable friends. All the instructions of the parents are in one way or another connected with the traditional family way of life. The key to human well-being, therefore, is the connection
Well done, he tries to live his mind, and the author explains this desire by the fact that the young man “was at that time very small and stupid, not in full reason and imperfect with reason.” He makes friends, and one of them is a kind of a named brother, who calls the man into a tavern. The young man listens to the sweet speeches of a “reliable friend”, drinks a lot, gets drunk and falls asleep right in the tavern.
The next morning he turns out to be robbed – his “friends” leave him only “a tavern kabatskuyu” (rags) and “bast shoes-otopochki” (worn-out bast shoes). Poor, he is no longer accepted by yesterday’s “friends”, no one wants to help him. The young man is ashamed to return to his father and mother “and to his family and tribe.” He goes to distant countries, he accidentally wanders into a certain city, finds a courtyard where the feast is. The hosts like that the young man behaves “according to the written teaching,” that is, as his parents taught him. He is invited to the table, treated. But the young man is upset, and then confesses to all that he disobeys his parents, and asks advice on how to live on a stranger’s side. Good people advise a young man to live by traditional
Indeed, the first time the young man is doing well. He begins to “live intelligently,” makes a fortune, finds a good bride. It’s about the wedding, but then the hero makes a mistake: he boasts what he achieved, before the guests. “Always rotten word is commendable,” – the author notes. At this moment, the young man overhears Grief-Wickedness and decides his lime. Since then, Grief-Wickedness is an indispensable companion of the young man. It persuades him to drink his property in a tavern, referring to the fact that “and from the paradise of the naked, barefoot will not be expelled.” A young man obeys Woe-Wickedness, drinks all the money, and only after that remembers himself and tries to get rid of his companion – Grief-Malice. The attempt to rush into the river was unsuccessful. Grief-Wickedness already lies in wait for the young man on the shore and makes him completely submit to himself.
Thanks to the meeting with good people, the turn of the young man is again planned: he was pitied, listened to his story, fed and warmed the carriers across the river. They forward him across the river and advise him to go to his parents for a blessing. But as soon as the young man remains alone, Grief-Wickedness again begins to pursue him. Trying to get rid of Grief, the fellow turns into a falcon, Grief turns into a gyrfalcon; well done in a dove, Grief in a hawk; well done – in a gray wolf, Grief – in a pack of beagle dogs; well done – in feather grass, Grief – in braid; well done in fish, Grief follows him with a seine. The young man again turns into a man, but Grief-Wickedness does not lag behind, teaching the young man to kill, rob, so that the young man is hanged, or planted with a stone into the water. ” Finally, the “Story” ends with the fact that the young man goes to the monastery to be tonsured,