That morning, Misha Polyakov got up very early to cut out an eraser for the slingshot from Uncle Semyon, an obsolete bicycle camera. In the courtyard he saw a neighbor, a sailor Sergei Ivanych Polevoy, who was hiding something under a doghouse. When the neighbor left, Misha shoved his hand into the hiding place and pulled out a leather dagger wrapped in a soft cloth with no sheath. The blade of the dagger was triangular, and “around the burnt bone handle the snake wriggled with a bronze body with an open jaw and a curved tongue”. After examining the dagger, the boy brought him back to his place, but he could not forget. He wondered why Field hides these weapons.
At breakfast it was discovered that the bicycle camera, irreparably damaged, was needed for Uncle Semyon, and
At night Misha could not sleep. He remembered Moscow and his mother, whom he missed. The father of the boy died in the Tsarist penal servitude, his mother worked in a textile factory. It was hard for them, so Misha was sent for a vacation to Revsk, to my mother’s parents.
The next day, Misha was put under house arrest. The boy was bored, and he decided to look again at the dagger. In the yard, two sawdust sawed wood. Misha pulled out his dagger and noticed that on each of the three edges of the blade were stamped out the stamps in the form of a wolf, a scorpion and a lily. To hide the dagger the boy was prevented by woodcutters, suspiciously interested in Polevoy. Then the grandmother came out into the yard, began to cook jam, and Misha had to hide the dagger under the cushion of his sofa.
Closer to dinner, when it was completely boring, appeared the redheaded Gene Petrov, the son of the machinist, Misha’s best friend, and pushed him to escape through the window. Friends took refuge in Genka’s hut, arranged on a tree, from where the whole of Revsk was visible. The boys were still in shelter when white men burst into the city. After a while Misha made his way home. “In the dining room was a desperate struggle between Field and bandits.” When the sailors were twisted, Nikitsky began to demand his dagger, but Polevoy was silent. After searching the sailor’s room, the White Guards led him to the door, and then Misha thrust his dagger into Polovoy’s hand, and himself rushed to the feet of one of the White Guards. Field escaped, and a blow of the revolver struck the boy’s head.
When Misha came to himself, there was a mother nearby: she came to take her son home. The car, sent to Moscow, was to be attached to a military echelon under the command of Polevoy. Misha hammered Genk to go hare to Moscow to his aunt Agrippina Tikhonovna, who lived in the same house with the Polyakovs.
Soon, Field came to Misha and told the story of the dagger. He belonged to an officer named Vladimir, who served on the “Empress Maria.” Field saw how Nikitsky, an officer of the same ship, killed Vladimir from the dagger just before the explosion. Field tried to stop the scoundrel, but during the fight an explosion exploded. When the sailor came to, he had a dagger in his hand, and the sheath remained with Nikitsky. Learning that Field lives in Revsk, Nikitsky came for a dagger. Why he needed him, the sailor did not know, but he did not intend to give the dagger to the enemy.
Two days later the train left for Moscow. Genka hid in an iron box under the car. In the morning Misha found out that the train was on the siding, and Genka was caught and interrogated at the headquarters. He helped a friend of the Field, after which Gena received permission from his father to go to his aunt.
The train had already been stationed at the Nizkivka station for the second week. Food was not enough, and the guys decided to go to the nearest forest for mushrooms. They were shown the wrong way to the road, so they returned to the train late at night and asked to camp for the night. My friends were already asleep when Nikitsky burst into the house. He wanted to force the inspector to stop the train, which was due to pass here in an hour. The driver refused. The boys jumped out of the house, saw the bandits dismantling the roads, and ran to the train with all their might. They managed to warn Polevoi.
After the battle, Field farewelled to Misha, gave him a dagger and revealed his last secret. It turned out that the handle with a copper snake is being disassembled. Inside the handle is a thin metal plate with a cipher. Polevoy believed that the key to the cipher was in the scabbard, which remained with Nikitsky. That’s why he wants to get a dagger. Nikitsky had an assistant, a former orderly Filin, originally from Revsk. Misha remembered that in his Moscow house, too, lives Filin.
Part two. Yard in the Arbat
A year has passed. All this time the dagger was safely hidden in the closet by Misha. The boy kept the secret of the cortex and often thought whether his neighbor, the head of the Owl, was the accomplice of the bandit Nikitsky. Only Anna Genkina’s aunt Agrippina Tikhonovna knew about the past of this Filina, called him a crappy man, but she did not tell the boys anything. With Genka, Misha was still friendly. Another friend of his was a pianist Slava Eldarov – a pale, sickly boy, the son of a singer and chief engineer of the factory, where practically all the women of Misha’s house worked.
In 1921, after a hungry winter, Misha’s vacation began on May 15. On the first day of vacation, the boy met in the yard Borya Filin, nicknamed Zhila. Misha knew that the greedy Borka “is selling in the Smolensk market cigarettes in bulk and taffy.” Under their house was a vast cellar, which Zhila knew best. His favorite pastime was stories about the dead, coffins and underground passages luring someone into the basement, leaving in the dark and hiding until the victim pleaded for help.
That day, Misha decided to play the same evil joke with Zhiloy. Wandering in the darkness through the labyrinth of the basement, the boy fell into an underground corridor. Borka did not give him a chance to examine this place, but he promised that he would take the flashlight and bring Misha here next day. In the morning, however, it was discovered that the janitor had boarded the entrance to the basement on the orders of the head of the staff of Filin – his warehouse was adjacent to the basement. Misha’s suspicions intensified.
Meanwhile, a rumor circulated about the circle of pioneers organized at the Krasnopresnenskaya printing house. The guys decided to find out who are the pioneers, and join them, but for now open their own theater group. In the basement, where all the mugs of the house were located, Misha found another move to the basement and persuaded his friends to explore the dungeon. The boy believed that the Filin was hiding something there.
Through the course the boys entered the high room, filled with wooden boxes, really resembling coffins. Before the eyes of the guys, new boxes were brought to the basement. Then, along with Filin, a tall man came down, whose voice was to Misha. Zaviskladom called a stranger Sergei Ivanovich. Coming out of the basement, Misha saw this man, but his face could not see. The boy began to suspect that Nikitsky was hiding under an unfamiliar name.
Misha was appointed administrator of the theatrical circle. To get money, he organized a lottery, the prize in which was his own Gogol’s volume. Lived, as always, tried to prevent, and Genka in the fuse told him that he knew about the underground passage, and about the boxes. He did not know how serious it all was, and Misha had to show his friends a dagger. Genka instantly realized that the dagger cipher hides the place where the treasure is hidden. Friends decided to hunt down a tall stranger.
Part Three. New acquaintances
A few days later, Misha went to the Smolensk market to buy makeup and props. There he met Elena and Igor Frolov, acrobats who gave somehow an idea in their yard. The boy invited them to speak at the opening of the mug. The collection from the first performance was intended for the starving Volga region. Then some kind of homeless kid stole a purse from Misha. The boy caught up with him and, in a fight, tore off both sleeves of the old coat in which he was dressed. Misha had no choice but to take the homeless child named Mishka Korovin to his home. There he was fed him lunch, and Misha’s mother sewed up her sleeves.
Meanwhile, Gena, who was watching the filigree of the Filin, noticed a tall stranger and led him to the diner. The boys hurried there, but the stranger disappeared. Pouring on the surrounding streets, Misha saw how a stranger and Filin go into a philatelic store. Entering after them, the boy discovered that the conspirators had come out through the back door, and was able to see how the old philatelist hides the oblong object, ring and ball, which opens like a fan, under the lock. It must have been a sheath from the dagger.
The boys had to make sure that the Owl was born in Revsk. This information they found out from Genkina’s aunt. Was Filin a sailor, the guys decided to find out from Borka.
On the same day, friends visited Krasnoe Presnya pioneers. Their leader-Komsomol member promised to help organize a pioneer detachment on the Arbat.
The next day, tracking down Filin, Slava and Genka betrayed themselves as careless behavior. Now none of the friends could go to the philatelic store.
The first performance of the theatrical circle was a success, and after the performance a pioneer detachment was created.
Part Four. Detachment No. 17
Find out if Filin served in the fleet, the guys were able to deceive Borka-Zhilu. Friends told him that they were going to put “a play from sailors’ life,” and asked to get something out of uniform. In exchange for Mishin’s knife, Borka dragged a faded ribbon from the cap with a golden inscription “Empress Maria.”
Suspicions of the children were confirmed – Filin was the former batman of Nikitsky. Now the friends were thinking how to get the sheath from the dagger. To the philatelic store, the boys could not come: the old philatelist knew them in person and was on his guard. The plan of action was made by the end of August only. Brother and sister Frolov, who now worked in the circus, they took an old cart. Having strengthened the billboards with the advertisement of the cinema on it, friends installed a cart every day opposite the philatelic store. One of them hid between the shields and watched the old man and his guests. Soon Misha overheard how the philatelist was discussing a complex cipher with Filin, and then he saw how the old man was gathering sheath. They formed like a fan fixed with a ring. A tall stranger Misha did not see, but he found out that his name was Valery Sigismundovich.
The criminals passed the scabbard to each other through Borka, while Zhila had long ago put on an advertising trolley. Seizing the moment when he was carrying a parcel with scabbards, the boys suggested to Borka to buy a cart and started bargaining with him. Convolutions vein laid on the ground, and the homeless Korovin, on the agreement with the guys, gently extracted the sheath from it. Having unfolded their houses at Misha’s, the friends saw the same cipher as on the plate from the dagger.
Part Five. The seventh group “B”
School began at the school. In one of the lessons Misha was guilty: the teacher found on his desk an extraneous book about an old hand weapon. The headmaster of the school, Alexey Ivanovich, became interested in Misha’s unexpected enthusiasm. He also knew that friends are interested in ciphers. Misha had to tell the director everything and show her dagger with scabbard.
Alexei Ivanych combined two parts of the cipher, and one inscription was obtained, encrypted with a ten-digit litters. With the help of the book about the ciphers he read: “Sim gad to wind up the clock will follow the arrow of the noon tower itself to be turned.” Gad was a snake on the handle of the dagger. She should have got some watches. Misha suggested that the watch belonged to the owner of the dagger named Vladimir. Now he had to find his family.
The director introduced the boys to Comrade Sviridov, a man in a greatcoat and military cap, who confirmed the information found by the guys in the library. Dagger made a regimental arms master, who lived in the XVIII century. This boys installed on the stamps on the blade and along its length. Then, in the naval collection, the director found the name of VV Terentyev, engineer of the navy, who died in the explosion at the Empress Maria. In the encyclopedia found the information about the weapons master of the XVIII century Terentyev. It turned out that the marine engineer was a descendant of the armourer, and the dagger could inherit it. The guys hid from adults only their guesses that Nikitsky is in Moscow, and Filinu is helping.
Engineer Terentyev could be a student of professor and admiral Podvolotsky, whose granddaughter was Misha’s classmate. Taking her address, friends went to the widow and the daughter of the admiral. Vladimir Vladimirovich Terentyev remembered the old woman. It turned out that Valery Nikitsky was the brother of his wife. There were old letters of Terentyev with a return address.
Part Six. House in Pushkino
Terentyev was from Petrograd, but in one of the letters Pushkin was mentioned. Specific data on whether the relatives of Terentiev still live in Petrograd, did not give them a passport desk. It was found out only that the engineer’s mother lives somewhere near Moscow.
On winter Sunday, the boys went to Pushkino. Having traveled the whole village on skis, they found nothing and were about to leave. At the station, the guys met acrobats. As it turned out, they also lived in Pushkino, next to Maria Gavrilovna Terenteva. Having climbed to the attic of their house, Misha saw the court of Terentyev and the tall stranger who had come out of her house. This time the boy saw his face. It was Nikitsky.
Misha told Sviridov everything, who ordered “to wait and not to go to Pushkino any more”. The guys plunged into their worries – they began to prepare for joining the Komsomol. After the interview at the admissions office of the Komsomol cell, friends went to Petrovka to Sviridov. He said that Nikitsky denies everything and “stubbornly calls himself Sergei Ivanovich Nikolsky,” and Filin liquidated his warehouse: someone frightened him.
Sviridov organized a confrontation between Nikitsky and Misha. The boy described in detail about the raid on Revsk and showed his dagger. Then Terentyev entered the office and recognized her son’s dagger. Nikitsky deceived and her, calling himself a stranger’s name and entering confidence.
In the house of the Terentyevs there was a large clock tower, to which came a snake from the handle of the dagger. In the case of the clock a cache filled with papers opened. It was a detailed list of sunken ships with coordinates and a list of treasures. Nikitsky was interested in the ship of the Crimean Khan Devlet-Giray, sunk in the Balaklava bay with a cargo of gold on board.
The list was sent to the organization “Sudozhod”, where Field worked, and three friends were solemnly received into the Komsomol.