In one of the cities of the Rostov district there is a court. Boyarin Sturgeon, the governor of the Khvalyn sea Som and the ship muzhiks – Sudak and Pike-trepetuha look at the petition on Yersha, which was made up by peasants from the Rostov district, the fish Bream and Chub. They accuse Ersh that he, having come from the Volga River to the Rostov Lake, which had been their fiefdom for the oldest time, asked to live with his family, and then he got used to, made kiddies and drove them, peasants, out of the fiefdom, completely seizing their hereditary holdings, The Rostov lake. Yersh replies to the court that he, born of small boyars, did not beat or rob anyone because the Rostov Lake was always his property and belonged to his grandfather, the old Ersh, and Bream and Chub – his, Ersh, accusers – were from his father in the serfs.
Yersh, in turn, blames Bream and Golavlya: they, ungrateful, forgetting that he let them go free and ordered to live at home, went hungry to the Volga and settled there on the bays, after which they began to encroach on his head with petition. Ruff complains to the court that Bream and Chub are themselves thieves and robbers and wish to completely ruin him. Ruff completes his speeches by mentioning his acquaintances with the great princes, boyars and clerks who eat him, Ruff, and “correct the hangover from the hangover.” The plaintiffs, Bream and Chub, in response to the request of the judges, refer to witnesses
And the witnesses show that Bream and Chub are kind people, God’s peasants, feed on their own strength, they live on their own fiefdom, and Yersh is a slanderer, a dashing man, a thief and a robber, no one lives from him, and he ruined many honest people and killed by starvation. Witnesses say that he is of the lowest kind and not of boyars, but as regards acquaintance and friendship with the princes and boyars, Yersh is lying arrogantly, for only Yersh knows only poor people, scoundrels and every kind of tavern, which can not buy a good fish.
The last before the judges appears Sturgeon and tells them about how meanly and treacherously acted with him, Rush: he met him, Osetra, at the mouth of the Rostov Lake, called himself his brother and advised him to go to the lake, where, like Sturgeon later learned, there is always abundant feed. Sturgeon believed Yershu, because of which his family nearly died of starvation, and he himself got into the net, where he was deliberately lured by the malicious Ruff. The court listens attentively to the plaintiffs, witnesses and the defendant and sentences: Bream and Golavlya to justify, and Ersh accuse and extradite the plaintiff, Lesch. Ruffs are executed as a commercial execution and hanged for theft and pandemonium on hot days in the sun.