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Here is the story of a boy who faced a lot of difficulties and was forced to leave his grandfather to work as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Moscow.
A Call for Help
The story begins with nine year old Vanka Zukhov writing a letter to his grandfather on Christmas Eve. Vanka works as an apprentice. His grandfather works as a night watchman for the Zhivarev family estate in a village in Russia. While his grandfather enjoyed his shift with the company of two wonderful dogs Eel and Kashtanka, the same could not be said for the orphaned child working in Moscow.
Vanka was treated terribly by his masters as well as the other apprentices and was beaten for the most trivial errors. The poor child implores his guardian to save him from the abuse as he sobs and writes the letter.
Tired of his pitiful life and desperate for an escape, Vanka agrees to do anything for his grandfather, from grinding his snuff to working as a shepherd boy, he will do whatever it takes to get out of this miserable lifestyle. He recalls the days when they would both decorate their Christmas tree, such happy times those were.
He is embraced by the sweet memories of Zhivarev household and Olga Ignatyevna who taught him to read, write, count and dance. It was after the death of Pelageya, Vanka’s mother that he was sent to Moscow to work for Alyakhin, the shoemaker.
Concluding his letter with a final plea, the little boy hurried to the nearest letter-box and dropped his precious letter into the slit. An hour later he was lulled into a rosy sleep and a dream where his grandfather was reading his letter to the cooks.
All children have rights, regardless of who they are, where they live, what their parents do, what language they speak, what religion they practise, whether they are boys or girls, what culture they come from, whether they have disabilities, or whether they are wealthy or impoverished. However, a majority of them are refused their rights in a variety of ways.