Makar is the main character, a peasant. The author himself referred his work to “holy stories”. Written in the Yakut exile (the winter of 1883), the story was inspired by the real impressions of the young writer (he lived with peasant Zakhar Tsykunov, who became the prototype of Makar). But, calling in the original sketches of the hero Zakhar, Korolenko, obviously, it was not by chance that he changed his name to Makar – on him, according to the Russian saying, “all the bumps lie”; on the other hand, Korolenkovsky Makar lives exactly where the other folkloric Makar “calves did not drive.” Makar is a descendant of Russian peasants, a resident of the “remote village of Chalgan,” lost in the distant Yakut taiga. Separating himself from the
On Christmas Eve, after drinking and going to inspect his traps in the taiga – in the hope of catching a fox, Makar got lost and began to freeze. In a dream, he sees a widow of Ivan, who died four years ago, all his unappreciated life, and then turns up in court at the “old Toyon”, in which God is personified. Toyon begins to weigh the sins of Makar, and there are so many of them that Toyon tells him to give Makar as punishment to the church trapeznik for the geldings. But then “the son of the old Toyon” enters the hut and asks his father to let Makar “say something”. And Makar, suddenly feeling in himself the “gift of speech,” tells in detail about his life: “They chased him all his life!” The elder and the foremen, the assessors and the police officers demanded the filing, chased the priests, demanded a rugu, drove the need and hunger, drove frost and heat, rain and drought;
From the story of Makar, old Toyon, “the old priest Ivan”, “the young God’s workers”, cried, and the scales, where the sins of Makar were, “went up higher and higher!” This story Korolenko was extremely popular with his contemporaries, and his allegorical background allowed him to give various interpretations – both revolutionary character and purely Christian ones. The story also allows for a less dramatic interpretation: circumstances suggest that Makar did not freeze in the taiga, but sees a dream, resting after drinking (compare the first sentence of the story and the beginning of Chapter IV).