The action of the story is transmitted on behalf of the main character – Alesha Peshkov. He lived in Astrakhan, where his father, a master cabinetmaker, was instructed to build a triumphal gate for the arrival of the king. But the father died of cholera, from the grief of mother Varvara premature birth began. The boy remembered her cry, her disheveled hair, her bared teeth.
My father was buried on a rainy day, frogs were sitting in the pit, and the boy was shocked that they were buried with the coffin. But he did not want to cry, for he rarely cried, and only from insult: his father laughed at the tears, and his mother forbade her to cry.
In Astrakhan came the grandmother of the hero, Akulina Ivanovna Kashirina, she took them to Nizhny Novgorod. On the way the newborn Maxim died, he was buried in Saratov. Alyosha almost lost himself during the parking, but the sailor recognized him and returned him to the cabin.
All the sailors recognized the family thanks
to their grandmother, whom they treated to vodka, and Alyosha with watermelons. Grandmother told strange stories, and it seemed to the boy that she was shining from the inside out. Despite the completeness, she moved easily and dexterously, like a cat.
In Nizhne they were met by a large family of Kashirins. Most of all stood out a small, dry-faced grandfather Vasily Vasilyevich.
The whole family lived in a huge house, but lived in an unhealthy state. He felt a mutual enmity between his grandfather and his sons, Michael and Jacob. The lower floor was occupied by a painting workshop – the subject of strife. The sons wanted to get their part of the inheritance and secede, but the grandfather resisted.
Sam uncles often fought, and Alyosha witnessed their Potasovski. The boy was frightened, because he grew up in a friendly family, where he was not punished, but here grandfather Kashirin on Saturday defiled grandchildren with a rod. Alyosha accidentally spoiled the front tablecloth (he wanted to paint) and this fate did not escape either. He resisted his grandfather, bit him, for which he
caught the boy half to death.
Alyosha was ill for a long time; grandfather came to him to put up and told about his hard youth. Another boy was struck by the fact that the Tsyganok, an apprentice, stood up for him and put his hand to the rods to break.
Later, Tsyganok explained to Alyosha how to behave during whipping, so that it would not hurt. He was a foundling, his grandmother raised him, and from her eighteen children three survived. Gypsy was 17 years old, but he was naive, like a child: he stole in the bazaar to bring more food and make his grandfather happy. And my grandmother was sure that he would someday be caught and killed.
Her prophecy came true: The gypsies died. According to the master Grigory, his uncle killed him. They quarreled because of him, because everyone wanted to get after the division of the legacy of the Gypsy women: he could become an excellent master.
Ivan was killed when he and his uncles carried a heavy oak cross on the grave of his wife Jacob. He got a broomstick, he stumbled, and uncles, so that they would not be maimed, let go of the cross – Ivan crushed to death.
Alyosha liked to watch the grandmother pray. After the prayer she told strange stories: about devils, about angels, paradise and god. Her face was young, she became meek, and her eyes radiated a warm light.
Not fearing neither grandfather, nor people, nor evil spirit, the grandmother was afraid to terror of black cockroaches and awakened Alyosha at night to kill another insect.
Apparently, Kashirin’s god was angry: the workshop burned, his grandmother burned her hands, but saved Sharapa, throwing herself at the feet of the straggling horse. At the beginning of the fire, aunt Natalya was born with fear before the term began and died in childbirth.
By the spring of the uncle were divided: Jacob remained in the city, and Michael settled down behind the river. Grandfather bought another house and began to rent rooms. He settled in the basement, and Alyosha and grandmother in the attic. Grandmother was well versed in herbs, many treated and gave advice on the au pair.
At one time, her mother had taught her everything, which remained a cripple, when, offended by the master, she threw herself out of the window. She was a lace-maker and taught her daughter Akulina everything. She grew up, became a master, and the whole city recognized her. Then she was married to Vasily Kashirin, an aquatic.
My grandfather was sick and began to teach Alesha the ABC from boredom. The boy proved to be capable. He liked to listen to the stories of his grandfather about childhood: about the war, about the captured Frenchmen. True, he did not say anything about Alyosha’s parents and believed that all the children had left him unsuccessful. Accused grandmother in all, even somehow struck her for it.
One day, Yakov burst into the house with the message that Michael was going to kill his grandfather and take his dowry to Varvarino. Grandmother sent Alyosha upstairs-to warn him when Mikhail would come. His grandfather drove away, and my grandmother cried and prayed that the Lord would teach her children.
Since then, Uncle Mikhail was drunk every Sunday and made scandals for fun to the boys all over the street. He kept the house under siege all night. Once running a brick in the window, almost got into his grandfather. And once Michael knocked out a small window with a stake and broke his hand to her grandmother, which she stuck out to drive him away. The grandfather became furious, poured Mishka water, tied it and put it in a bath. When the groom came to see his grandmother, Alyosha mistook her for her death and wanted to drive her away.
Alyosha had noticed a long time ago that grandmas and grandfather had different gods. Grandma praised God, and he was with her all the time. It was clear that he obeys everything on earth, and he is equally kind to all. When the innkeeper quarreled with her grandfather and cursed her grandmother, Alyosha took her revenge, locked in the basement. But my grandmother became angry and spanked her grandson, explaining that not always wine is visible even to God.
Grandfather prayed like a Jew. The grandfather’s God was cruel, but helped him. When the grandfather was engaged in usury, they came to him with a search, but thanks to the prayer of his grandfather, everything turned out. But the grandfather greatly offended the master Grigory: when he went blind, he drove out into the street, and he had to beg. Grandmother always served him and told Alyosha: God will punish his grandfather. Indeed, in old age the grandfather, having been ruined and left alone, will also have to beg.
Soon the grandfather sold the house to the owner and bought another, with a garden. They began to take lodgers. Amongst all stood out a parasite Good Deed. He was so nicknamed, because he always said so.
Alyosha watched as he in his room melted lead, weighed something on the scales, burned his fingers. The boy was interested – he met a guest and became friends. He began to come to him every day, although his grandfather beat Alyosha for every visit of a freeloader.
This man was not liked in the house for strange behavior, considered a sorcerer, a warlock, and his grandfather was afraid that he would burn the house. After some time, he still survived, and he left.
After Alyosha, he became friends with the cabman Peter. But one day Alyosha’s brothers beat him up to spit on his bald head. The grandfather, having learned about it, has flogged the grandson. When the one, who was tortured by shame, lay on the shelves, Peter praised, and Alyosha began to avoid him.
Later I saw three boys behind the fence and made friends with them, but he was expelled by the colonel, whom Alyosha called “the old devil.” His grandfather beat him for it and forbade him to communicate with the “barchuk”. Peter saw Alyosha with the boys and pushed his grandfather. Since then they started a war: Peter released the birds caught by Alyosha, and he spoiled his shoes. Peter lived in the closet above the stable, but somehow he was found dead in the garden. It turned out that together with the accomplice, he robbed the church.
Alyosha’s mother lived far away, and he hardly ever remembered her. Once she returned and began to teach her son grammar and arithmetic. Grandfather tried to force her to marry again. Grandmother always stood up for her daughter, why grandfather even beat her. Alyosha took revenge by cutting his beloved saints.
At neighbors often arranged “evenings”, and the grandfather too has decided to arrange evening in the house. He found a groom, a crooked and old watchmaker. But the young and beautiful mother refused him.
After a quarrel with her father, Varvara became mistress in the house, and he became quiet. He had a lot of good in the chests. He allowed his daughter to wear all this, because she was beautiful. Her guests often visited her, including the brothers Maximov. After Christmas, Alyosha fell ill with smallpox. He was treated by his grandmother and told him about his father: how they met with his mother, married against the will of his father and went to Astrakhan.
Mother married Eugene Maximov and left. Grandfather sold the house and told grandmother that everyone would feed himself. Soon the pregnant mother returned with her new husband, as their house burnt down, but everyone understood that Evgeny had lost everything. Grandmother began to live with the young in Sormovo. A sick child was born and died after a while. Alyosha himself began to study at school, but he did not have relations with either students or teachers. The stepfather got a mistress and beat again the pregnant mother, and Alesha once nearly killed him.
After the departure of the mother, Alyosha and her grandmother again began to live with their grandfather. He considered them to be freeloaders, and Grandma had to weave lace, and Alyosha and other poor boys collected junk and stole firewood. At the same time, he successfully passed into grade 3 and received a commendable list. A sick mother with a little scrofulous son, Nikolai, arrived. His grandfather did not feed much, but the mother herself lay silently all the time. Alyosha understood that she was dying. Soon she really died, and grandfather sent Alyosha “into people” – to make a living.