Night. Nurse Varka, a girl of about thirteen, shakes the cradle and sings a lullaby a little audibly. The child cries and does not fall asleep, Varka wants to sleep, but if she falls asleep, the owners will kill her. She dreams, as people walk along the road, and then fall and fall asleep. Then she sees her dead father. He had a hernia, and he turns on the floor in pain. The young doctor looked at him and sent him to the hospital on a trolley, which the owners sent. Hernia was corrected, but by morning he died. Varka goes, crying, into the forest, but gets a blow to the back of the head, beats her forehead against the birch and wakes up. This master struck her, since she is asleep, and the child is crying. She again shakes the cradle, and she dreams of how she and her mother go to work in
She wakes up and at work a little sleep passes. She is told to put the samovar, to clean the owner galoshes, over which she again almost falls asleep. Then you have to go to the store, and many more things. The most painful thing is to stand over the table and peel potatoes, serve at dinner, wash, sew; the head itself tends to the table and it would be desirable to sleep. In the evening Varka runs to the store for beer, vodka, cleans herring, the last order: to rock the baby. Varka shakes the cradle and sees people on the road again, father, mother. She can not understand what is hampering her hands and feet, preventing her from living. The child looks around and understands this. How could she not have guessed at once? A false impression takes possession of Varka. Smiling, not blinking, she approaches the cradle, strangles the child, lies down on the floor, laughs with joy and in a minute sleeps soundly, like a dead one.
The main character of the work is the nurse Varya. She was only thirteen years old. One night, she, swinging the cradle of a child, strongly wanted to sleep, but could not, because she was afraid of the hosts’ anger.
She sees some people walking along the road, and then they fall and sleep. After that, another picture appears in the dream. She sees her father, who has a hernia. He fell to the floor and writhed in pain. A young doctor came. After examining his father, he sends him to the hospital. Hernia correct, but the father could not survive. Varya is crying. She goes into the woods, and feels a blow to the back of her head. After that she wakes up. This owner gave her a slap in the fact that she fell asleep. And the child does not stop crying. She starts to rock the cradle again, and falls asleep. She dreamed of how they are going to work with their mother to work in the city, and begging along the way. Suddenly she wakes up. This lady woke her up to feed the baby. Then she again gives the baby to Varya. The girl again begins to fall asleep, shaking the cradle, but she was told that she cooked the stove.
Varya woke up, and, working, the dream lets her go. It begins to load different responsibilities. It is necessary to put the samovar, polish the owner of shoes. Above them, she falls asleep again. After that, she needs to go to the store. Then there is still a lot to do. The most painful occupation for Varya was cleaning potatoes. In addition, she did not like to wait at the table, wash and sew. At such moments, she always wants to sleep.
In the evening, Varya is sent to the store, to buy beer, vodka, and then, to polish herring. The last command of the owners was the swing of the child in the cradle. Pumping the cradle, she again falls asleep, and sees the same picture: father, mother and people on the road. She can not realize that she is hindered from sleeping, hanging her arms and legs. Looking around, Varya sees the child, and realizes that this is because of him, she is so unhappy. She gets a bad idea. With a smile on her face, she approaches the crib, strangles the baby with her hands, and lies down on the floor. She laughed at the madness, and within a minute she fell asleep soundly, like a dead one.