The story takes place in the Russian zone after 1864, and starts on 4 January at 13.00. Marcin Borowicz as ośmiolatek arrives with his parents to Owczary, a village close to the family Gawronek, where the initial School known in Russian: "Naczalnoje Owczarskoje Ucziliszcze" - conducted by the State Wiechowskich. Every day at eleven children listen to and sing songs from the Orthodox Wiechowskim.
Martin has been working hard learning the Russian language, particularly grammar and calligraphy - writing Russian words. He likes religion and catechism, Father Anthony Putiatyckiego. News of upcoming school visits by the director of supervision of schools. Wiechowscy and children clean up the school and homestays, prepare for the visit.
Pyotr Nikolaevich Iaczmieniew began a visit from Wiechowskiego lesson observation, and then queries the child alone. First, put a negative assessment of teachers'' work. After talking with mothers and children complaining to the Russification of their children by Wiechowskich, changing opinion.
Iaczmieniew Inspector concludes that in order rusyfikować Poles, should compel them to speak Russian at home and think in that language. The story moves to the clerics, village gubernianej away about 5 km from Gawronek. There was a high school where the exam seemed Marcin Borowicz, the initial class.
Helena, the mother buys him a tutor Martin with Professor Majewski. He does everything to the son had a chance for education. Borowicz passed the entrance examinations to high school with Russian language, mathematics and religion. He was accepted, which caused great joy to his mother. Helena Martin arranges space for substances with an old friend of Mrs. Przepiórowskiej. Martin gets to know new colleagues on the substance. Daleszowscy - three brothers, the oldest went to fourth grade, the younger students were second class. Yosef - but first-class student drugoroczny. The others are Soraczek and Pigwański, who went to the 7th grade and Martin gave private lessons. Martin spends two free days at Pentecost, also learns the history of the family horse - bay mare, which they stole from thieves, but after a month he returned alone to the stable.
Martin''s mother, after long-lasting illness die. Martin leaves the school, knowing a new friend and wagarując Wilczek. A priest from the church threw Wargulski Siedlewa inspector because he is forbidden to sing the Polish anthem. Witnessed the incident was Martin.
Getting to know the characteristics of the professors who teach in high school: Leim - a teacher of Latin and wychowacy, Ozierskiego - teacher of Russian language, Szretter - a teacher of Polish language and Nogackiego - professor of mathematics. In third grade, Martin was shooting with his friends in the park with a gun, which almost led to expel him from school. Helped him to prayer and faith in the care of the mother. At the end of the fourth class Gawronek Martin arrived for a holiday. He got from his father''s shotgun and aging, and most of the time spent exploring the area in search of opportunities to hunt.
During holidays, he met Simon the leg, the best shooter in the area. Unfortunately, the man has not helped him find a purpose for shooting, and even used the Martin and ordered to bring him before hunting for grouse alcohol.
The new school year at the school greeted Martin with a new director Kriestiobriodnikowem. A new inspector was called Zabielskij. In addition, he taught Latin and history Kostriulew Petrov, but not only the teachers had changed. Teachers of students spied everywhere, even in lodgings visited them frequently. We meet a new hero. It is the Andrzej Radek. Comes to the seminarians and become my friend Martin. He came from a poor family and came to the town on foot.
The student Tynkiewicz very annoyed Radek. Once, however, no longer stand and beat their persecutor. He had to leave school this act blacklisted, but interceded for him and saved from the punishment of an older class student Marcin Borowicz - friend for some time with an inspector Zabielskim, which created a literary party. Party it worked against the Polish culture. For new students joined the class and proceeded to party writers. Rozczytywali in translation, "History of civilization, England, scientific books, through which boys become atheists. Martin also has this tendency.
In the seventh grade at one of the lessons of history led by Kostriulewa "Figa" dared to protest against the slander that reading teacher. Often he did to kill the Poles patriotism. For a new student came to class Zygier Bernard. He was 18 years old and was expelled from high school in Warsaw for his excessive patriotism. On one of the Polish language classes recited "fort Ordona, then made a great impression on other students and professor.
Martin has already walked through eighth grade and he was 18. Together with some colleagues met at the Martin Gontala the secret meetings of Polish literature and history. Great impression on Borowiczu had read "Forefathers" by Adam Mickiewicz. More and more time he spent studying Polish literature and culture.
During the last year of training and preparation for final exams Marcin Borowicz fell in love with "Birucie" - Annie Stogowskiej. He was ashamed to confess his feelings.
After my graduation, and vacationing in Gawronkach Martin returned to the clerics, and very willing to meet with Anna. But he learned that his father, a doctor, the girls got a better job in the depths of Russia and took the family together.