It is a pioneering story of Social Realism (the story pre-dates Soviet socialist realism), and is a story of lost ideals. Twenty-six men labor in a cellar, making kringles in an effective prison, looked down on by all around them, including the bunbakers. Their only seeming solace is the sixteen-year-old Tanya, who visits them every morning for kringles they give her. A new baker, a soldier, joins the bun bakers. Unlike all others they know, he befriends them, boasting of his virility with women. He ultimately seduces Tanya, and the men all revile her. She is never again seen.