Even in the darkness, Ustinya’s grandmother began to toss and turn on a large trunk, cursing Hitler and all his accomplices in a whisper. And her eldest grandson, Kolya, through a dream already understood that it was time to get up. A dream beckoned, fascinated, whispered something affectionate. Without opening his eyes, Kohl groped his way into the hall - there was a bucket of snow standing there. As a rule, by the morning he had time to melt, it turned out pure icy water. True, there were such frosty days and nights when the snow in the bucket remained snow. Well, Kolya it was not scary. Icy water or snow - it does not matter, he gathered a full handful and washed, the boy did not know any other way to quickly chase away the dream. Then he pulled on an old grandfather's coat, took a shovel. Trying not to make noise, I tried to get out of the hut. If there was too much snow on the night before, he would get out of the window in the entrance hall and clear the passage in front of the door from the outside. It was his duty.
In the Kolyvanov family, besides grandmother and Kolya, there were grandfather Fedot and mother Nyura. And four children, small is small less. Sasha and Peter - Kolyvanovs. Olya and Valya, daughter of Catherine’s mother’s sister, who lived in Yelets before the war. At the beginning of June, Aunt Katya brought the children for a week or two to her grandmother Ustinje, while she herself returned to work. And as soon as the war began, she disappeared. Did not come, did not send any news. But half a year has already passed ...
Anxiety for the daughter, grandmother Ustinya tried to hide. She urged the family to get to Yelets, which had only recently been liberated from the fascist evil, here, to the outskirts of Lebedyan, is now simply impossible. The grandmother tried not to notice the fact that the fascists came to Yelets at the beginning of winter, and her daughter disappeared in late June. She was hoping for all the circumstances about which the Kolyvanovs knew nothing. Wrote some storiesin which Katerina was on duty in the hospitals for days on end, then slept for days, nowhere could she get an envelope to send a letter. The children believed and waited. And grandmother Ustinya herself, anticipating misfortune, barely slept, and even then began to toss and turn on the chest.
Kolka could not ignore the alarm that reigned in their house. And more than once he was going to Yelets to find out anything about Aunt Kat. In Yelets he had been before the war many times, even had been guests for a long time, so he would have found the street and the house for sure. But how to get to the city ... Kohl did not know whether there were any buses going now or where to get money for a ticket, but this didn’t really bother him. He is inventive, he will come up with something on the go. But what really kept the boy at home - the daily care of loved ones. He understood: in a family without him, if something happens on the road, it will be very difficult. Grandmother and grandfather are already old, my mother is often sick, and my father is at the front. So, he, an eleven-year-old kid, for the time being should be in the house for the highest male power. But Kolya did not lose heart. He believed in luck. And the case did not let him down.
One of the frosty nights, they knocked on the Kolyvanov hut.
- Ivan! - mother gasped, having seen the face of the man in the frozen window.
It was their neighbor and friend, Ivan Petrovich. Before the war, he lived near the Kolyvanovs. It turned out that the neighbor had arrived at Lebedyan on the instructions of the partisans. He had to find the editorial office of the front-line newspaper, which was now in school No. XXUMX. Ivan Petrovich warned that he would be staying with Kolyvanov for a week or two, he would help with housework at the same time. "That's good! - Kolya was delighted to learn such a message. - So, for now, they will manage without me here, and then we'll see. Tomorrow I'll go to Yelets, there is no more strength to wait and worry ... ”
... Kohl left the house at night - even Ustinya’s grandmother had not yet begun to toss and turn and curse the fascists. I took two crackers and a rag with me to wrap my face, if I was very cold, winter would still, and maybe I would have to go in open transport.
Pretty quickly got on the track and went. Kohl learned the direction of the path the day before from Ivan Petrovich. True, he didn’t ask how many kilometers to the city, but he’ll get anything, because the cars are on the way, somebody will give a lift.
However, the road was not at all as straight as it seemed to the boy. Kolya probably would have lost his way, but he was really picked up by a ride - there is justice in the world! So early from Lebedyan (there was a very good bakery here during the war) a car loaded with bread was going to Yelets. Kohl, seeing the truck, stopped, frantically waving his arms. Warrior slowed down, regretted the kid. And allowed to get into the body, where it was quite warm.
Himself not his happiness, Kolka squeezed between the bread rows. And he immediately realized that he was brutally hungry. The smell of bread dizzy. The boy has long chewed his two crackers, now only melted snow gurgled in his stomach. But Kolka did not touch the bread. The driver had such confidence in him, one might say, he presented a solution to a huge problem, after all, he would take him all the way to Yelets, and maybe, then go home, - and will he chew someone else’s bread here? Not. And Kolka sat firmly, hands folded on his knees. Just cried a little from annoyance. And when the truck finally stopped, without delay, jumped out, overcoming dizziness.
In Yelets, the boy really quickly found the street and the house where Aunt Katya lived - his memory turned out to be very strong. But the house was almost completely destroyed. There was no point in looking further.
I had to go back home and tell the terrible news to my relatives. Kohl looked with his eyes: at least something to find, even a piece of clothing! And suddenly I heard a faint screech. Among the ruins a German Shepherd puppy whined. Kohl remembered that the fascists trained dogs on this breed in order to search for escaped from a concentration camp or for any other atrocious purposes. For a moment, anger swept over: got caught up with German! But the boy immediately changed anger to mercy: the puppy is not to blame for anything. In addition, it is unknown how he turned out to be here and whose: the fascists left the city, so much would the puppy simply not live here. And there were no concentration camps near Yelets.
The boy made his way to the place where the shaggy kid was whining. It turned out the puppy was tied to a sticking out window frame of the former first floor. A thought flashed: does it mean that the dog was tied to the field of how the house was destroyed? Maybe they left us to die on purpose, or maybe the owner, in the same way, looked for his relatives in these ruins, tied a puppy, but could not return? Or is it a fascist dog, but how did she live for so long? ..
With the frozen hands the boy managed to untie the leash. The puppy tried to throw Kolka on the chest, and yes he had enough strength. But to run dog while he could. And he ran for his new owner to the outskirts of the city. There, near the field, the driver of the car promised Kolya to take him back to Lebedyan.
The truck was not there yet, and Kolya, along with Yashka, as he called the puppy, sat right on the snow. Yashka at first sat quite quietly, and then suddenly twisted, grunted and pulled to the side. Kohl pulled the leash, said something sternly, but the puppy turned out to be extremely stubborn. “Maybe a bird that smelled dead or a bone,” the boy decided. “Okay, let him look and gnaw, he didn’t eat anything.” And let the leash.
Yashka went toward the city, holding his nose very close to the ground. Having passed quite a bit, I stopped and began to dig with my paws a small, brought stack. The good-natured Kohl, seeing the efforts of the little dog, ran up and began to help him. And he was completely discouraged when a small felt boot first appeared from the stack, then a slender childish little hand. It was a boy hardly older than Kolya, only very thin. His face was like cabbage, just as pale, Kolka noted to himself. He shook a stranger boy, shouted - but nothing helped. Fortunately, the driver arrived, the same one. Putting the unfeeling boy in the car, he ordered Kolya to wait, and he rushed to the nearest hospital. And very soon he returned, wiping away tears of joy.
- Well, man, you are a hero, even hang a medal on your chest! He is alive, this little boy, and I was thinking, completely gone. Well, even a little bit - he died. As it turned out to be under the snow, I didn’t understand, he is still saying badly from fear and experience, I didn’t wait.
- And what is his name? - asked Kohl.
- Here's a freak! the chauffeur slapped his forehead. - Name, name, I forgot to ask!
Kohl safely got to his relatives, who were already crazy with anxiety. However, to report the terrible news about Aunt Katya could not. He said that he had learned from the neighbors that Catherine had got out of the city long before the occupation, therefore, she could not convey any news about herself. Like, she was urgently evacuated along with some hospital.
Yashka, of course, stayed in the Kolyvanovs' house. Either the former owners specially taught the dog, or by nature Yashka was endowed with such a striking sense — it is not known. But not only the boy whose name the chauffeur forgot to ask for was obliged to life for the puppy.
The dog sensed it was not clear how a grenade caught in the snow. Got close to her and barking people together. And when Kolka wanted to find out what was wrong, and approached a dangerous place, Yashka jumped on the host and knocked him down. For a long time, people stood around a grenade hidden under the snow, until they guessed what was the matter.
Saved Yashka and Kolyvanov's neighbor, Aunt Klava. Over Lebedyanyu passed the air route along which the Germans made raids on Moscow. During the bombing, Aunt Klava crushed a plate, both legs were broken. Aunt Klava spent more than a day among the ruins, and in the bomb shelter, in the meantime, three daughters were waiting for her. When Kohl discovered girls, they almost did not believe that mother was alive, but continued to wait for her. Clinging to the last hope with all his might, Kolya gave Yashka a sniff of Aunt Klava’s handkerchief. And the clever dog found her, although he spent several hours searching.
Nikolai Afanasyevich Kolyvanov lived a long life. Helped mom to grow their brothers and sisters. He himself has two adult sons - Alexander and Jacob. But he no longer had a dog.