The story begins with a description of the boundless steppe and endless sea. The narrator converses at night with the old gypsy Makar Chudra, who guards the horses not far from his camp. Makar tells one story so that his interlocutor remained his whole life “free bird.”
The young gypsy Loiko Zobar knew Hungary, the Czech Republic and the whole county. He did not have anything treasured, he could pull out his heart from his chest and give it away, if necessary. Loiko loved only horses, and then not for long – he would travel a little and sell.
The events described by Makar occurred when their camp was roaming in Bukovina. The soldier Danila had a daughter – the proud beauty of the Rada, to which many were unrequitedly in love. Having met Loiko Zobar, she showed complete indifference to him, while the young gypsy fell in love with her more and more. He suggests Rade to be his wife, but adds that he is a free man, so he will live as he pleases. But the girl in response only swept the belt whip at his feet and yanked to her, why Loiko fell. Having risen, he went to the steppe, not looking at anyone. Worried about his condition, the comrades send Makar Chudra to watch over him. Zobar sat on the stone for three hours. Then came Rada, who confessed that she loved him, but she loved her will more. She demanded,
When in the evening everyone gathered around the fire, Zobar told about the condition Rada had set him, and said that he wanted to try – is her heart as strong as she shows. After these words, he dug her knife into her chest. The girl dies, and the young gypsy rushes to the ground, clinging her lips to her feet. Danilo takes the knife with which Rada was slaughtered, and kills Lojko Zobar.