The Hut in the Forest
When he was in the hut he usually lay underneath the table, because that was the only place where he could lie without being in the way. And, of course at meal times he was in the way even there. Just now he was out with old Peter.
"I wonder what story it will be to-night?" said Maroosia.
"So do I," said Vanya. "I wish they'd be quick and come back."
Vladimir stirred suddenly in Vanya's lap, and a minute later they heard the scrunch of boots in the snow, and the stamping of old Peter's feet trying to get the snow off his boots. Then the door opened, and Bayan pushed his way in and shook himself, and licked Maroosia and Vanya and startled Vladimir, and lay down under the table and came out again, because he was so pleased to be home. And old Peter came in after him, with his gun on his back and a hare in his hand. He shook himself just like Bayan, and the snow flew off like spray. He hung up his gun, flung the hare into a corner of the hut, and laughed.
"You are snug in here, little pigeons," he said.
Vanya and Maroosia had jumped up to welcome him, and when he opened his big sheepskin coat, they tumbled into it together and clung to his belt. Then he closed the big woolly coat over the top of them and they squealed; and he opened it a little way and looked down at them over his beard, and then closed it again for a moment before letting them out. He did this every night, and Bayan always barked when they were shut up inside.
Then old Peter took his big coat off and lifted down the samovar from the shelf. The samovar is like a big tea-urn, with a red-hot fire in the middle of it keeping the water boiling. It hums like a bee on the tea-table, and the steam rises in a little jet from a tiny hole in the top. The boiling water comes out of a tap at the bottom. Old Peter threw in the lighted sticks and charcoal, and made a draught to draw the heat, and then set the samovar on the table with the little fire crackling in its inside. Then he cut some big lumps of black bread.