Wisdom of Children
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The story opens at the beginning of Holy Week, when there was still melting snow on the ground. An older girl, Akulya, and a younger girl, Malasha, go outside to play. They both have just been given new frocks, but they insist on wading through one of the puddles from the melting snow. They both take off their shoes to keep them dry, and Akulya warns Malasha against splashing the water on her new frock. Malasha splashes Akulya despite her warning, and Akulya runs home in tears. Her mother is furious at the ruined frock, and she spanks Malasha in the middle of the street. Soon Malasha's mother emerges from her home, and the mothers begin arguing. The shouts brought the peasants into the street, who also begin arguing with each other. The peasants start pushing each other, and Akulya's grandmother urges everyone to stop, but to no avail.
In the meantime, Akulya had washed off her frock, and she and Malasha returned to the pool. The two girls make a small boat out of bark, and they make a stream from the puddle. They go chasing after the boat together, as happy as ever. Akulya's grandmother urges everyone to follow the example of the children, and take their spirit of forgiveness into their own hearts.
- "The Works of Tolstoi." Black's Readers Service Company: Roslyn, New York. 1928.