On a beautiful July day, one of those days when the weather was set for a long time, the narrator hunted grouse in the Chern district of the Tula province. He shot quite a lot of game, and when it began to get dark, he decided to return home, but lost his way. Long enough the hunter roamed, but the night approached. He even tried to ask his hunting dog Dianka, where he strayed and where he was. “The cleverest of four-legged creatures” was silent and only wagged its tail. Continuing to stray, the hunter found himself in a terrible abyss. The hill on which he was, descended a steep precipice. On the plain near the river two lights burned and shone, people were walking about them.
The narrator found out where he had gone. It. The place was known under the name of Bezhina meadow. The hunter went downstairs and was about to ask people about a lodging near the fire. He was met by dogs with malicious barking. Near the fires children’s voices were
heard, and the hunter from afar answered the children. They drove away the dogs, which were especially struck by the appearance of Dianka, and the man approached the fire.
They were the children who guarded the herd on the night pasture. In hot summer time horses are driven out to pasture at night: in the afternoon flies and gadflies simply will not give them peace.
The hunter told the boys that he had lost his way, and sat down by the fire. There were five boys sitting at the fire: Fedya, Pavlusha, Ilyusha, Kostya and Vanya.
Fedya was the oldest. He was about fourteen years old. It was a slender boy with light eyes and a constant cheerful half-smile. He belonged, to all appearances, to a wealthy family, and went out for fun in the field. Pavlusha was not very good-looking. But he spoke cleverly and straight, and his voice sounded powerful. Ilyusha’s face expressed dull, painful solicitude. He seemed to be blinking from the fire. He and Pavlusha were about twelve years old. The fourth, Kostya, a boy of about ten, aroused curiosity with his brooding and sad eyes. Vanya was only seven years old,
he was dozing on mat.
The children talked about this, but suddenly Fedya turned to Ilyusha and asked him, as if continuing the interrupted story, whether Ilyusha saw a brownie. Ilyusha replied that he had not seen it, since it was impossible to see him, but he had heard in the old field-room, at the factory. Under the house at night, boards cracked, suddenly a wheel could be heard, boilers and devices on which paper was made to stir. Then he looked like he went to the door and suddenly coughed and choked. The children, who spent the night at the factory, fell from fear and climbed each other up.
And Kostya told another story – about the suburban carpenter Gavrila, who is always gloomy, because he saw a mermaid in the forest. The mermaid laughed all the time and called the guy to her. But God has told him, and Gavrila has crossed himself. The mermaid burst into tears and disappeared, complaining that it was not necessary for a man to be baptized. She is now crying all the time, they say, will, but to him she wished to be killed for the rest of the day. After these words, the impure force disappeared, Gavrile became clear how to get out of the woods. But since then he walks gloomy.
The next story was Ilyushin. It was a story about how a hacker Ermil picked up a white lamb on the grave of a drowned man, who bared his teeth at night and spoke to Ermil in a human voice.
Fedya continued the conversation with a story about the late master Ivan Ivanovich, who all walks on the ground in a caftan with a long line and is looking for something. Grandfather Trofimitch, who asked the deceased what he was looking for, Ivan Ivanovich replied that he was looking for a break – grass. He presses his grave, and I want to go.
Ilyusha picked up the conversation and told him that the deceased can be seen on the parents’ Saturday, if you sit in church on the porch. But you can see and live, who this year’s turn to die. Grandma Ulyana saw Ivashka Fedoseyev, a boy who died in the spring, and then himself. And in it from this day the soul can hardly hold, though it is still alive. Ilyusha also told about Trichet, an extraordinary man, the traditions of which were very similar to the traditions of antichrist. The conversation turned to water, and from him and to Akulina the fool, who had gone crazy since she tried to drown in the river.
In the same river drowned and the boy Vasya. His mother raked the hay while his son played on the beach. The boy suddenly disappeared, only the cap on the water floated. His mother has been out of his mind ever since.
Pavel came with a full kettle of water in his hands and said that it was not right, he was called a brownie. Fedya at the same time added that Paul called the drowned Vasyatka.
The hunter gradually woke up to the hunter, and he only woke up at dawn. All the boys were sleeping near the fire. One Paul woke up and looked intently at the night visitor, who nodded his head and walked along the river.
Unfortunately, Pavel died that year: he fell from his horse and was killed.
Chor and Kalinych
The narrator gets acquainted with the landowner Polutykin, a passionate hunter who invites him to his estate. They spend the night at the farmer Horya. The chorus had a strong economy and had a practical mindset. He was serf Polutykin, although he had the opportunity to buy off his master. But Horu was unprofitable, so he refused such thoughts.
Manners are unhurried for Khor, he does not start the business without thinking and calculating everything in advance, he does not think abstractly, his dreams do not attend.
His friend Kalinych is the complete opposite. He once had a wife whom he was very afraid of, but it was a long time ago. Now he lives alone and often accompanies Polutykin on a hunt. This occupation became the meaning of his life, as it gives him the opportunity to communicate with nature.
Chor and Kalinych are friends, despite the fact that they look at life differently. Kalynych, like a man enthusiastic, dreamy, not completely versed in people, revered the master. The chorus saw Polutykin through and through, so he was somewhat ironic about it.
The horse loved Kalinich and gave him protection, because he felt that he was wiser. And Kalinych, in turn, loved and respected Khorya.
The chorus knew how to hide his thoughts, to cunning, and talked a little. Kalinych explained with enthusiasm, enthusiastically. Kalinych was familiar with the secrets of nature, he could stop the blood, talk fear. All these skills were not possessed by the practical Chorus, which “stood closer to society, to people,” while Kalinych, to nature.
Ermolai and millericha
The narrator narrates how once they went with the hunter Ermolai to “draft” – an evening hunt for woodcocks.
Then he acquaints the readers with Ermolai. “Ermolai was a man of a strange kind: carefree, like a bird, quite gossipy, scattered and clumsy in appearance.” In this case, “no one could compare with him in the art of catching in the spring, in the hollow water, fish, getting the hands of crayfish, looking for a little game, luring quail, harboring hawks, getting nightingales…”
Having stood for about an hour on the thrust, killing two pairs of woodcocks, the storyteller with Ermolai decided to spend the night at the nearest mill, but they were not allowed, but they were allowed to spend the night in an open canopy. The wife of the miller Arina brought them food for dinner. It turned out that the narrator knows her former master’s master, Zverkov, whose wife Arina served as a maid. Once she asked the master for permission to marry the lackey Petrushka. Zverkov and his wife found themselves offended by this request: the girl was deported to the village, and the footman was given up to the soldiers. Later, Arina married a miller who bought her.
The action takes place in the very heat in early August, when the narrator went hunting and went in the direction of the key, known as the Crimson Water.
At the river he meets two old people, fishing, Shumikhinsky Stepushka and Mikhailo Saveliev, nicknamed Tuman. Then follows the story of their life stories.
One autumn, returning from the departing field, the narrator caught cold and fell ill. It happened in a county town, in a hotel. They called a doctor. The district doctor, Trifon Ivanovich, prescribed a medicine and began to talk about how, one day, during a game of preference with a local judge, he was summoned to the house of an impoverished widow. It was a landowner who lived twenty miles from the city. A note from her said that her daughter was dying, and she asked the doctor to come as soon as possible.
Arriving, the doctor began to provide medical assistance to her daughter, Alexandra Andreevna, a patient with fever. Trifon Ivanovich stayed with them for a few days to look after the patient, feeling “a strong disposition to her.” Despite all his efforts, the girl did not recover. One night, feeling that she was going to die, she confessed to the doctor in love. Three days later, Alexandra Andreevna passed away.
A doctor after – entered into a legal marriage, taking his wife’s merchant’s daughter Akulina, evil, but with seven thousand dowry.
Here the narrator acquaints readers with Ovsyanikov’s one-man. He was a full, tall man, about seventy, with a face that resembled several faces of Krylov, with a clear and intelligent gaze, with an important bearing, measured speech and a slow gait. All his neighbors were highly respected and honored for the honor of knowing him. Ovsyannikov lived alone with his wife in a cozy, neat little house. He kept a small servant, dressed his people in Russian and called them workers. “He considered it a sin to sell bread – God’s gift, and in 1940, during the general famine and terrible high cost, distributed to the surrounding landlords and peasants all their supplies, and they gratefully repaid him their debt in kind the next year.” From books Ovsyanikov read only spiritual. The neighbors often came to him for advice and help, asking him to judge, to reconcile them.
One of Ovsyanikov’s neighbors was Franz Ivanovich Lezhen. In 1812 he went to Russia with a Napoleonic army drummer. During the retreat, Lechen fell into the hands of Smolensk peasants who wanted to drown him. Passing by the landlord regretted the Frenchman. He asked if he played the piano, and brought home as a teacher for his daughters. Two weeks later, Lezhen moved from this landowner to another, a rich and educated man, who fell in love with the Frenchman for his kind and cheerful disposition and married to his pupil. He entered the service, became a nobleman, and in the end – a Russian landlord. He moved to live in Orel and made friends with Ovsyanikov.
The narrator with Ermolai goes to shoot ducks in Lgov – a large steppe village. Once at the bank of the river, they find a fishing boat Kuzma, nicknamed Suchok. Whoever he was in his life: a Cossack, a coachman, a cook, a kofishenkom, an actor, a forejter, a gardener, a traveler, and now he is a master fisherman who has been fishing for seven years in a pond where fish are not found. He had several names and nicknames throughout his life.
Kasyan with the Beautiful Swords
The narrator returns from the hunt on a stifling summer day. At the wheel of their cart the axle breaks, and the coachman Erofei blames the funeral procession found on the road. It is believed that meeting a dead person is a bad omen. The narrator learns that they are burying Martyn the carpenter who died of the fever. The coachman in the meantime proposes to go to Yudina settlement to get a new axle for the wheel. On the settlements the narrator meets Kasyan, a dwarf of about fifty with a small, swarthy, wrinkled face, a pointed nose, brown, barely perceptible eyes and curly, thick black hair. His whole body was extremely frail and evil, and his gaze was strange and unusual.
Kasyan says that the new axis can be obtained from merchant clerks in an oak grove, which is cut down for sale, and agrees to accompany the hunter there. He decides to hunt in the grove. Kasyan asks to take him with him. After long walks, the narrator manages to shoot only the corncrake.
“- Barin, and the master,” Kasyan suddenly said in his sonorous voice.
I sat up in surprise; until now he barely answered my questions, or suddenly he himself spoke.
– What do you want? I asked.
“Well, why did you kill the bird?” he began, looking me straight in the face.
“What for?” Korostel is a game: you can eat it.
“You did not kill him for that, master: you’ll eat it!” You killed him for your fun. “
Kasyan argues that it is a sin to kill any forest creature, but to another person food is laid – bread and “a creature tame from ancient fathers”. He says that “death does not succumb to death neither to man nor to creature, and death does not escape, nor can you escape from it, but it should not help…”
The narrator learns that Kasyan knows the medicinal herbs well, at one time he went “to Simbirsk – a nice city, and to Moscow itself – gold dames, went to the Oka-nurse, and to the Volga-mother.” “And I’m not alone, a sinner… many other hareens are walking around in the bast shoes, they are wandering around the world, they’re looking for the truth… yes! .. And what’s at home, eh? There’s no justice in a man, that’s it.. . “
The coachman Erofei regards Kasyan as a fool and a stupid person, but admits that Kasyan cured him of scrofula. “God knows: he is silent as a stump, he will suddenly start talking,” but what does he say, God knows him. “Is not this manners?” This is not manners.
A young landlord, a retired military officer Arkady Pavlovich Penochkin, lives in Verkhov fifteen from the estate of the narrator. His house was built according to the plan of the French architect, people are dressed in English, the farm is engaged with great success. Penochkin writes out French books, but practically does not read them. It is considered one of the most educated noblemen and enviable grooms of the province. In the winter he goes to Petersburg. The narrator reluctantly visits him, but one day he has to spend the night in the estate of Penochkin. In the morning I had breakfast in English. Then they go together to the village Shipilovka, where they stop in the hut of the local burmist Sofron Yakovlevich. He answered all the inquiries of Penochkin about the affairs in the household, that everything was going very well thanks to the orders of the master. The next day, along with the narrator and burmist Sofron, Penochkin set off to inspect the estate, where an unusual order reigned. Then we went to hunt in the forest, and after returning, we went to look at the winder, recently discharged from Moscow.
Leaving the barn, they saw two men, old and young, kneeling. They complained that they were completely tortured by the burmistre, who took the two sons of the old man into recruits, and now he takes away the third one. He took the last cow from the yard and beat his wife. They asserted that the bailiff was not ruining them alone. But Penochkin did not listen to them.
Two hours later, the narrator was already in the village of Ryabov, where he got to talking with the familiar peasant Anadist about Shipilov peasants. He explained that Shipilovka is only listed as a master, and Sofron owns it as her own good: the peasants must circle around him, work for him like farm laborers, and the burmist trades with land, horses, cattle, tar, butter, hemp, so he is very rich peasants beats. The peasants do not complain to the master, because Penochkin does not care: the main thing is that there is no arrears. And on Antipa Sofron puffed up because he had quarreled with him at the meeting, so now he avenges him.
The action takes place in the autumn. The hunter wandered with a gun through the fields and suddenly saw a low hut in which an old guard was sitting, pointing out the road to him. So the narrator found himself on the estate of Elena Nikolaevna Losnyakova, in the main manor office where the clerk Nikolay Eremeev is in charge. The narrator, being in the next room and pretending to be asleep, will learn about him and about life in the estate a lot of new things.
The hunter was returning home alone, on a running droshky. A storm was approaching, and suddenly the rain poured down in streams. Suddenly, in the darkness, with the shine of lightning, near the droshky a tall figure appeared. The man demanded to call himself in a strict voice and, having heard the answer, calmed down. He himself turned out to be a forester here and offered the hunter to wait out the rain in his hut. The forester took the horse by the bridle, and soon the hunter’s eyes appeared a small hut in a wide courtyard. At the doorway they were met by a girl of about twelve, in a shirt, belted by a trench, and with a lantern in her hand. The forester went to put the droshky under the canopy, and the master entered the hut. Horrific poverty appeared before him. In the cradle lay a child who was breathing heavily and often. The girl rocked him, with her left hand adjusting the ray. The forester came in. The master thanked the forester and asked his name. He replied that his name was Thomas,
The hunter looked with double curiosity at the forester.
Legends were about the honesty, incorruptibility and power of Biryuk.
Barin asked where the hostess was. The forester at first responded that he had died, and then recovered, saying that he had fled with the passing burgher, abandoning the barely born child.
Biryuk offered a lord of bread, but he said that he was not hungry. The forester went out to the yard and returned with the news that the storm was over, and invited the guest to escort him from the forest. He himself took the gun, explaining this by the fact that the Kobylho-Toph tree is cut down, sham – he heard from the yard.
The barin and the forester did not have time to replace the felling. The hunter rushed to the place where the noise of the struggle came from, and saw a forester wringing his hand with a sash behind his back. The thief turned out to be a man in rags, with a long beard. Barin mentally gave his word: by all means release the poor fellow. The peasant was seated on the bench, and the house was dead silent.
Suddenly the prisoner started talking and asked Foma Kuzmich, that is, Biryuk, to release him. Thomas was adamant, and after much bickering, the villain escaped threats to the forester. Biryuk got up, approached the peasant in a fit of anger. He was frightened that he would be beaten, and the master stood up for the prisoner. Biryuk ordered the master to fall behind, pulled the sash off the man’s elbows, slapped his hat over his eyes, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, and pushed him out of the hut.
The master praised Biryuk, they say, he is a little fellow. The forester shook him off and asked only to tell no one.
Then he escorted the master and said farewell to him at the edge of the forest.
The narrator talks about how, five years ago, he was in Lebedyan in the very collapse of the fair. After lunch, he goes to the coffee house, where they played billiards.
The next day he went to choose his horse, looked at it for a long time, and finally bought it. But it was sunk and lame, and the seller refused to take it back.
The action takes place in a small village Kolotovka. It tells about the competition of two singers from the people – Jacob Turk and a rower from Zhizdra. The sergeant sang “the highest falsetto,” his voice was “rather pleasant and sweet, although somewhat hoarse, he played and wagged in this voice like a whisker… <…> fell silent and then suddenly picked up the old melody with some dashing, His transitions were sometimes quite bold, sometimes quite amusing: they would have brought much pleasure to the connoisseur. “
Yakov “sang, completely forgetting his rival, and all of us, but apparently raised like a cheerful swimmer by waves, our silent, passionate fate.” He sang, and from every sound his voice beamed with something native and immeasurably wide, like The familiar steppe was revealed <…>, leaving in an infinite distance “.
“Not alone in the field road ran,” – sang Jacob, and all present was terribly. There was a genuine deep passion in his voice, and youth, and strength, and sweetness, and some fascinating-careless, sad grief. “The Russian, truthful, ardent soul sounded and breathed in it and so grabbed you by the heart, grabbing directly for its Russian strings.”
After resting in the hayloft and leaving the village, the hunter decided to look through the window of the Prickly Tavern, where he had witnessed a wonderful singing a few hours ago. His eyes were presented with a “gloomy” and “motley” picture: “Everything was drunk – everything, starting with Jacob.” With his bare chest he sat on a bench and, singing in a hoarse voice some dancing, street song, lazily perplexed the strings of a guitar… “
Moving away from the window, from which the uneven sounds of the tavern’s “fun” came, the hunter quickly walked away from Kolotovka.
Petr Petrovich Karataev
The action took place in the fall, on the road from Moskra to Tula, when the narrator stayed almost all day because of a lack of horses in the postal house, where he got acquainted with the petty nobleman Pyotr Petrovich Karataev. Karataev tells his story to the narrator. He is almost ruined – because of poor harvests and his own inability to manage the economy, and now he is going to Moscow to serve. Then he remembers, how once a beautiful serf-girl Matrenu fell in love, decided to buy it from her mistress. He was received by a relative of the lady and told him to call in two days later. Arriving at the appointed time, Pyotr Petrovich learned that Matryon was sent to a steppe village, since the lady did not want to sell the girl. Then Karataev went to the village where they banished Matryona, and took her to him secretly, at night. So they lived five months in joy and harmony.
But one day, while riding a sleigh, they went to the village of Matrenina, the lady, where they were seen and recognized. The mistress filed a complaint against Karataev that her sprawling girl lives with him. The police chief came, but this time Pyotr Petrovich managed to pay off. However, he was not left alone. He got into debt, hid Matrena, but she, having regretted Karataev, went and herself betrayed herself.
A year after this meeting, the narrator arrived in Moscow, went there to the coffee shop, where he saw a billiard room coming out
Petr Petrovich. He said that he does not serve anywhere, the village was sold at auction, and he intends to remain in Moscow for the rest of his life.
Gently loving Akulina comes to the grove on a date with a spoiled lordly valet and finds out that he is leaving with his master to Petersburg, possibly leaving it for good. Victor leaves without a shadow of frustration or remorse, and the poor deceived girl gives herself up to inconsolable sobbing.
Nature here is a subtle lyrical commentary on the painful, hopeless state of the girl: “… through the gloomy, though fresh smile of a fading nature, it seemed that the dreary fear of the near winter was sneaking in. High above me, heavily and sharply cutting air with wings, turned his head, looked at me from the side, soared and, croaking cursing, disappeared behind the forest… “
The narrator, together with Ermolai, goes for black grouses to Belevsky district. The rain did not stop from the very morning. Then Ermolai suggested going to spend the night in Alekseyevka – a hamlet that belonged to the mother of the narrator, about the existence of which he had never suspected before.
The next day he went to wander through the wild garden. Having reached the apiary, he saw a wicker shed, where a small figure, resembling a mummy, lay. She was Lukerya, a former beauty. She told her story about how she fell down from the porch seven years ago and started to get sick. Her body withered, and she lost the ability to move. The Lord first tried to treat her, and then sent to the village to relatives. Here Lukeryu was nicknamed “Living Power”. About her current life, she says that everyone is happy: God sent a cross – hence, loves her. Describes that he dreams: Christ; the parents who bow to her and say that she is atoning for their sins with their sufferings; death, which Lukerya begs to take her with him. On the suggestion of the narrator to take her to the hospital responds with a refusal – the treatment procedures do not help her, causing only unnecessary suffering. She asks the master to tell his mother that she will reduce the obrok to local peasants – they have poor lands, poor crops.
A few weeks after their meeting, Lukerya died.