I rode with hunting one evening, on the road droshky. A heavy thunderstorm caught me on the road. Somehow I was buried under a broad bush and waited patiently for the end of the storm. Suddenly, with a flash of lightning, I saw a tall figure on the road. It turned out to be a forester here. He took me to his house – a small hut in the middle of a vast courtyard surrounded by a fence. The hut consisted of one room. In the very middle hung a cradle with a baby, which was rocked by a barefoot girl of 12 years old. I realized that the hostess was not in the hut. From all angles poverty looked.
Finally I could see the forester. He was tall, broad-shouldered and well built, his stern and masculine face overgrown with a beard, his small brown eyes boldly looked out from under his broad
I asked if he had a mistress. Biryuk answered with a cruel smile that his wife had left the children and fled with the passer-by. He could not give me a treat: there was nothing in the house except bread. Meanwhile, the thunderstorm ended and we went out into the yard. Biryuk said that he hears the sound of an ax; I did not hear anything. The forester took his gun, and we went to the place where the wood was cut. At the end of the road, Biryuk was ahead of me. I heard the sounds of struggle and a mournful cry. I hastened my step and soon saw a felled tree near which a forester bound the hands of a thief-a wet peasant in rags with a long, disheveled beard. I said that I would pay for the tree and asked to release the unhappy man. Biryuk said nothing.
Again the rain fell. With difficulty we reached the forest lodge. I made myself clear at all costs to free the poor man. By the light of the lantern, I could see his drenched, wrinkled face and lean body. Soon the peasant began to ask Foma to let him go, but the forester did not agree. Suddenly the peasant straightened up, a face appeared on his face, and he began scolding Biryuk, calling him a beast.
Biriuk grabbed the peasant, released his hands in one movement and ordered him to go to hell. I was surprised and realized that in fact Biryuk was a nice fellow. Half an hour later he said goodbye to me at the edge of the forest.