The main character was called Vasya. He was a boy from a wealthy family, his father was a judge. However, the childhood of the child was by no means a happy one. Vasya was completely alone. His mother died, and his father paid no attention to the child. The judge was very sad for his dead wife, he was very fond of her. And he was fond of the little daughter Sonia, because she reminded him of his wife. Vasya was left to himself, no one particularly worried about him. He spent whole days outside. In the city where Vasya lived, there was an ancient castle. Now it was almost completely destroyed. The poor lived in ruins of the castle. They were illegal, and their life was very, very difficult. However, there was nowhere to go to the poor. In any environment, there are disagreements. The environment of beggars and vagabonds was no exception.
It so happened that the Earl’s servant, an old man named Janusz, allowed only a few beggars to remain in the castle. The rest had to hide
in the dungeon under the crypt. Nobody knew that the beggars were hiding there. Old Janusz told the boy Vasya that in the castle now only “a decent society”, because he left there only the elite. According to Janusz, now the boy can go there. But Vasya was interesting to those who are hiding in the dungeon. This is a “bad society”, but the boy treats them with pity and interest. Among the “bad society” there are very different people. There is an old man who is almost insane. He only mumbles something incomprehensible. There is also a retired drunk official; there is a person who calls himself a general. The main person of “bad society” is a man named Tyburcy Drab. No one knows, where did he come from and what kind of person is he. Some suggest that he is of noble origin. However, this does not seem to be the case. Tyburcy Drab gives the impression of an intelligent and educated person, he often at fairs cites ancient authors, which is very entertaining to the public.
Once Vasya and his friends decided to look into the old chapel. With the help of his friends, Vasya
climbed there through the window. However, his friends soon ran away, because they saw that there was someone in the chapel. Here there was a boy named Valek and a girl named Marusya. The boy is nine years old, the girl is four. They were Tyburtsia’s children. Vasya often met with them, he even treated them with apples. But he tried to come only when Tyburcy was not in the dungeon. Nobody knew about the association of Vasya and the children from the dungeon. Even Vasin’s friends did not know about this, he did not tell them anything.
Vasya could not help comparing his life and the life of his sister to the life of children from the dungeon. They did not have the essentials, but their father, Tyburcy, was very fond of them. Vasya realized that his own father did not like him. The judge was more fond of his daughter, four-year-old Sonya. She reminded him of his wife, who died. Vasya himself was very fond of his sister. And she paid him the same. But Sonya’s nanny did not allow children to play together, she did not like Vasya. In comparison with Sonya, Marusya was completely different. Sonia was a quick, cheerful child. Marousia was weak, sad and sad. According to Tyburcy, which was handed over to Vasya Valek, a gray stone was sucked out of Marousi.
In a conversation with his new friends, Vasya somehow complained that his father does not like him. And I was surprised to learn that the dungeon dwellers consider the judge to be an honest and fair person. For Vasya, it was amazing, because he himself practically did not know his father, tried to avoid it.
Vasya learned all the customs and procedures of the inhabitants of the dungeon. Once, when he was playing with his new friends, Tyburcy came. Quite unexpectedly he favorably treated Vasya, allowed him to come when he wanted. Tyburcy asked Washuu not to tell anyone about their place of residence.
Vasya knew that the members of the “bad society” were living theft. But he could not condemn them, because they have no other choice. Gradually, all the inhabitants of the dungeon got used to Vasya and even fell in love with the boy. In the fall, with the onset of cold weather, the feeble Marusya fell ill. Vasya brought her a treat, but Marousia practically did not pay attention to it. Then Vasya decided to give her a big and very beautiful doll, which belonged to his sister. The boy told Sonya everything, and the girl allowed him to take the doll. Marusya was very pleased with the gift. It seemed that she was even better. She began to get up and play with the doll.
One day, Sonya’s nurse noticed the doll’s disappearance. Sonia tried to find an excuse, but the nurse was even more alert. Vasya was forbidden to leave the house, because the old Janusz told the judge that the boy is communicating with the inhabitants of the dungeon.
The state of Marousi deteriorated. She practically did not get up. Vasya said that the nurse had missed the doll. We wanted to take the toy from the sleeping girl, but Marusya woke up and wept bitterly. Vasya could not get the doll.
At home his father asked Vasya where he went. He also ordered to tell where the doll is. My father believed that Vasya had stolen this thing, a gift from his deceased mother. Vasya saw that his father was extremely angry. He does not have a drop of sympathy and love for his son. But quite unexpectedly appeared Tyburcy, who brought the doll.
He said that Marusya had died. Tyburcy began to talk with the judge, told that Vasya was friends with his children. This conversation amazed the judge. He looked at his son with other eyes, realized that this is a kind, impressionable and sensitive boy. The father realized that he had vainly deprived himself and the son of his love. The judge and Vasya seemed to realize for the first time that they were close people. His father allowed Vasya to bid farewell to Marusya, and he also donated money for Tyburcy. He said that he had better leave the city.
Soon almost all the inhabitants of the dungeon disappeared. There were only two left – a half-crazy old man and one more person. And Vasya and Sonya began courting the grave of Marousi. When they grew up and were going to leave the city, they gave their vows over this grave.
Thanks to the work of Korolenko, we get an opportunity to learn about the life of children from prosperous and disadvantaged families. Communication of children belonging to different social strata becomes possible due to Vasi’s spiritual qualities. This boy is surprisingly kind, he sympathizes with his new friends, deprived of the most necessary. Vasya himself is also deprived of very, very much. He does not know the love of his father, and his mother died long ago. In his family there is no mutual understanding, and therefore he is looking for friendship and support outside his own family.
The city in which the characters live are gloomy, ser. This city seems sleepy, unfriendly. The image of the city allows us to understand that the main characters live in an atmosphere of indifference, callousness and cruelty. Members of the “bad society” are despised and condemned by people who are prosperous. They create “bad deeds”. But they are forced to live this way, because the people around them have left them no choice.