While waiting for the ferry, the grandfather Arkhip and Lyonka lay in the shade from the shore cliff and looked at the waves of the Kuban River. Lyonka dozed off, and his grandfather, feeling a pain in his chest, could not fall asleep. Lyonka was a small, frail boy of about ten, in his rags, he seemed a clumsy bitch, broken from his grandfather – an old withered tree. Grandfather coughed, cough was hoarse, suffocating, forced his grandfather to rise and squeezed large tears. The steppe haze covered everything in the distance, but the grandfather was not familiar with this phenomenon and believed that the heat and the steppe robbed him of his sight, as they removed the remnants of strength in his legs. Today he was worse than usual, he felt that he would soon die, and he was worried
Lyonka woke up and looked at his grandfather’s big blue, childishly thoughtful eyes. The ferry did not fit, but stood not far off, because no one called him. Lyonka wanted to swim, but a fast river could carry him away. Grandfather suggested tie a leg to Lenkina’s leg and hold it, but Lyonka realized that the river would carry them both. Then he said that the earth here is a continuous dust, that they saw many cities and people, and, unable to express their thoughts in words, fell silent. Grandfather praised his mind and agreed that everything is around: they, and the city, and all people are dust. He regretted that the boy could not study literacy, and for the umpteenth time he translated the conversation about his own death and the fate of Lyonka.
The boy was tired of these conversations, because they ended in quarrels, because at first he became frightened, then bored, and the grandfather, noticing this, was angry, thinking that Lyonka did not love him and wished him death. Grandfather this time reflected that beggars are not considered for people, they are served only for the sake of clearing conscience, well-fed and hungry enemies to each other. Lyonka wanted to go to work in a tavern. Grandfather was afraid that he could be hammered there, but the boy promised everyone not to be given. The monastery is better, thought the grandfather.
A full-bodied, strong and healthy Cossack appeared on the arba and called for the ferry. Grandfather complained that in Russia, hunger and people are dying like flies. According to the grandfather, the famine began because people sucked, depleted the land, and the Cossack objected that from good hands and a stone will give birth. On the ferry, Lyonka dozed off and fell.
The Cossack drove them to the village. Along the way, Lenka thought that he would have to beg again, lie about the famine in Russia, to serve more, and the boys would again pick him up. Of alms basically served food, but it was spoiled, and nobody bought it here, but it would be better to give money.
Upon arrival, the Cossack called himself Andrei Cherney and invited them to spend the night. Lyonka wanted to part with his grandfather, although he collected much less separately. Grandfather tightened his song, and Lenka fell asleep in the bushes. He was awakened by a loud cry. A girl of about seven with black eyes walked along the road and cried. Lyonka wanted to help her. She said that she lost her new scarf, which her father bought her. Lyonka decided that his father would beat her, but still ordered her to go home, confess everything, and even offered to protect her before her father. But the girl refused – her mother did not like beggars – and left.
Lyonka went to the church, where they agreed to meet with their grandfather, on the way thinking that if a girl from a wealthy family, she would be beaten, since all the rich misers, and if from the poor, then no. Grandfather gave a lot, and he decided to go look for Andrei Chernoy. But the Cossack who came up to them led them to the team (the house where the stanitsa board was located). On the way, the grandfather gave Lenya a bundle, so that he threw it away and remembered where. Throwing away, Lenka noticed in the bundle of a blue-flowered girl’s handkerchief. In the national team they were accused of stealing a handkerchief and dagger. Once in Taman’s grandfather stole his underwear, he was beaten and thrown out for this. He then prayed for a long time and called himself a thief. In the team, the grandfather said that it was not his fault. Lyonka became ill and fell. They were released and taken out of the village.
On the way, the grandfather picked up a parcel with a handkerchief and a dagger and showed Lyonka. The boy immediately imagined how they all laugh in their faces, and that girl, sparkling with blue eyes, calls him a thief. A thunderstorm began. Lyonka shouted at his grandfather, called him a thief. Grandfather shouted that he was doing everything for Lenka, his future. The boy was frightened and started calling his grandfather back to the village, but he kept talking and talking.
The storm was in full swing. Frightened, Lenka could not stand it and ran away. The next day the grandfather was found there, he was still alive, but his tongue was taken away. He was looking for someone in the crowd, but could not find and cried. Towards evening he died. At the graveyard, one could not bury his grandfather like a thief: a handkerchief and a dagger were found next to him. The grandfather was buried where he was found. Lena was found a few days later: he was lying face down in the mud near the ravine. He was buried next to his grandfather and put a stone cross.
Old grandfather and a frail boy of ten years in the shade of a coastal precipice waited for the ferry. The ferry did not go ashore, because no one called. Lyonka dozed off, and Grandfather Arkhip could not sleep from the pain in his chest. He coughed hoarsely, choking, so that there were tears. Today he was particularly worried that he would die soon, and he was troubled by the fate of his grandson. He wanted to return to Russia, home, but it is far away. Here, in the Kuban, served very well.
Lyonka woke up, picked up a childishly thoughtful big blue eyes. The ferry did not go. Lyonke would like to bathe, but the river is so fast – it will carry away. Grandfather wanted to tie Lenka with a girdle and hold, but the boy thought that he would carry both. Grandfather again started a conversation about death and about the fate of Lyonka. The boy was already tired of these conversations – they ended in quarrels.
Then a well-fed strong Cossack drove up to the shore on the arba, called for the ferry. On the ferry, Lenka again dozed off and even fell. Andrei Cherny – so called the Cossack – took them to the village and invited me to spend the night.
Grandchildren and grandfather went to collect alms separately – so Lenka wanted, although he knew that they were always more served together.
Later Lyonka, sleeping in the bushes, heard someone crying. A girl of about seven, crying bitterly: she lost her handkerchief, which her father had bought her recently. Lyonka wanted to help her, but he could not do anything. He told the girl to go home and offered to protect her father. The girl refused, saying that her mother does not like beggars.
Lyonka went to the church, where his grandfather had already to wait. Grandfather alms had a lot – he was well served today. They wanted to look for Andrei Chernoy to spend the night, but another Cossack led the beggars to the camp of the national team. And then Grandfather inconspicuously slipped Lyonya a bundle, ordering: throw out and remember the place. Lyonka saw the blue handkerchief of the girl. On the board they were accused of stealing a dagger and a handkerchief. Grandfather swore that it was not his fault, and Lyonka became so bad that he fell. They were taken out of the village and released. Grandfather along the way picked up the discarded bundle. The boy vividly imagined how the Cossacks laugh at them, directly in their faces, like a girl, sparkling with eyes, calls him a thief. A thunderstorm began. Lyonka shouted furiously at his grandfather, calling him a thief. Grandfather also screamed in despair that all this was for Lenya’s future. The boy was frightened, and grandfather kept talking, saying, unable to stop. Lyonka escaped. Thunderstorm continued terrible.
Grandfather found the next day. Grandfather Arkhip was still alive, but his tongue was taken away. He looked through the crowd with his eyes, as if he were looking for someone and he cried all the time. He died late in the evening. Bury the thief on the graveyard did not want as a thief: a handkerchief and a dagger were found next to him in the mud. They buried his grandfather there, where they found him, behind the village stanitsa. Lyonka was found a few days later in the ravine – he lay face down. He was buried with his grandfather nearby, putting one for two stone cross.