From the Publisher
In the preface to the series Pushkin says that the author of the stories is a deceased young man, Ivan Petrovich Belkin, who was born in the village of Goriukhino. After the death of his parents, he left the service in the Chasseurs, and returned to his patrimony. Fictional Belkin had no business abilities and soon ruined the estate. But he showed an unusual penchant for the female sex, as well as hearing and writing amusing life stories. According to Pushkin, Belkin died in late 1828 of "colds fever". The stories are available now to readers as "a monument to the noble way of thinking and a touching friendship."
Colleagues of the regiment idolize ringleader, brawler and marksman Silvio. But he has a rival – a newly appointed young count from a wealthy family, whom women like very much, and who spends more money on friends. The rivalry between them comes to a duel. The foe hits Silvio’s cap just an inch from his forehead and then waits for his shot with a calm disdain eating cherries.
Enraged Silvio refuses to shoot now and reserves for a shot at the moment, which he then chooses. For several years he burns with a grim revenge, waiting for the moment when the count does not want to die. Finally Silvio learns that his opponent has just married a beautiful girl. He goes to the count in the village, and requires to complete an unfinished duel. To humiliate the opponent Silvio allows him to fire a second time.
The count again misses and gets into the painting hanging on the room wall. His young wife rushes into the room and falls to Silvio’s feet begging not to kill her husband. Enjoying the opponent’s confusion and timidity Silvio refused to shoot. Coming out, he makes a shot at the picture on the wall - and aptly enters the footprint left by a count’s bullet.
Young people Maria and Vladimir, being neighbors, love each other. But Maria’s parents prevent their marriage. At the suggestion of Vladimir Masha decides to run away at night to meet betrothed in the near church, to get married there, and then put the father and mother before the accomplished fact.
Flight occurs in winter, during a terrible blizzard. Masha and chosen by Vladimir witnesses get to the church, but he himself because of the thick snow gets off the road and is in a completely different side. At the church, where the bride has fainted waiting for the groom, a hussar stops on his way to the army. Taking him for Vladimir, witnesses drag the hussars to the priest. Only at the end of the ceremony Maria, who has just recovered the consciousness realizes that she has married the wrong one. Hussar realizing that he got involved in trouble is in a hurry to leave.
But the rite is already committed. Vladimir cannot marry Masha now. Because of the sorrow he goes to war with Napoleon in 1812 and is killed there. Married to a stranger Maria for several years eschews all applicants of her hand, until a trooper Burmin returns from Europe and attracts her attention. Burmin really likes Maria, but he does not dare to start an explanation and finally he tells her the reason. Burmin is married - he was the hussar who previously was married to Masha in that church. Now he does not recognize her. Maria tells Burmin the truth.
A German shoemaker Gottlieb Schulze invites his neighbor - an undertaker Adrian Prokhorov to his silver wedding. At the celebration are gathered neighboring craftsmen. A the table one of them offers a drink "for the health of our customers." All guests immediately begin to laugh at Adrian, saying that he should drink the health of his dead.
Adrian before was going to invite the neighbors to his new home, but now, because of the offense. decides not to do so. When he returned home drunk and getting into bed, the undertaker said to the maid that he better would call those who he works with: Dead Orthodox.
The next day, Adrian spends a day at the funeral of a merchant Trukhina. When he returns home at night he sees as his wicket several strangers. Entering the room, the undertaker finds that it is full of dead, which were buried before. They all happily welcome Prokhorov, and one skeleton tries even to hug him. From fear the undertaker starts screaming and wakes up. It turns out that he dreamed in his sleep not only the scene with the dead, but the funeral of Trukhina after a drunken binge at German’s.
“The Station Master”
A stationmaster Samson Vyrin has from his dead wife a daughter Dunya – a woman of great beauty. A rich hussar Minsk falls in love with he when he stopped at a station. Pretending to be sick, hussar stays at the station master for few days. During this time he becomes close friends with Dunya and when leaving, offers her a ride together to the church on the outskirts of the village.
Having gone with a hussar Dunya does not come back. Her inconsolable father learns that Minsk has left for St. Petersburg. The station master goes to the capital, finds there Minsk, and demands to return his daughter. But Minsky says that Dunya has already weaned from their former poor condition and would be happy with him, and he drives Vyrin away. The station master begins to follow a hussar, discovers the house where Dunya lives and makes his way into her room. When Dunya sees her father, she falls unconscious and Minsk again throws him into the street.
Unable to find the truth, the station master returns to his station, ruins himself by drinking and soon dies. A few years later the neighbors see as to his grave comes a richly dressed lady with three young children.
"The Squire’s Daughter"
Neighbors landlords Berestrov and Muromskyi, do not visit each other. Berestov’s handsome son Alex returns to the estate after the graduation from the Moscow University. About the ardent young man all the neighboring ladies are gossiping. Muromskyi’s daughter Lisa burns with the desire to see Alexei but she had no opportunity to do so because of the enmity of their fathers.
Naughty Lisa still finds a way to fulfill her dream. She dresses in peasant clothes and goes at the dawn to the grove on the border of the Berestov’s estate. There she meets Alex hunting. Young people like each other very much. They begin to meet frequently. Lisa of modesty does not reveal her real name to Alex naming herself a peasant of Muromskyi - Akulina.
Meanwhile Berestov senior sees once in a forest Muromskyi who has fallen off his horse. Of noble courtesy he helps him to get home. After that, a long-standing feud of two landowners quickly replaces friendship. Muromskyi invites Berestov with his son to his home. Not wanting Alex to recognize her during this visit, Lisa utterly disguises her face, dresses the old dress, speaks only French. Alex is still in the dark about who she is, and is pleased to continue meeting with the "peasant Akulina".
Berestov and Muromskyi, meanwhile, decide to marry their children. Passionately in love with Akulina Alex refuses to marry Lisa. His father insists on it with threats. In terrible excitement Alex without notice goes to Muromskyi to provide an explanation of the impossibility of marrying his daughter. But entering the house, he suddenly sees there the "Akulina", not dressed in peasant, and in a beautiful dress.