In the morning the bitch whelped seven reddish-brown puppies, in the rye barn where a row of bast mats gleamed like gold. Licking their pelts smooth, and underneath her, the snow melted out in the heat. But at dusk, when the hens were roosting on the perch, there came the grim - faced master who stuffed the pups in a sack. The bitch bounded alongside him, over the snow - deep fields, and the icy surface of the water shuddered a long, long while. And when at last she struggled home, licking the sweat from her sides, to her the moon above the house seemed like one of the pups. Whimpering loudly she gazed up limpidly into the dark, while over the hill, the slender moon slid into the fields beyond. And softly, as when someone, jesting, throws her a stone, her tears, like golden stars, trickled down into the snow.