As the lasses do their handiwork, they keep looking at Maria and Nastasia, out of curiosity. Both are equally pretty, their dowry prepared in their chests for married life, but their rivalry won't let them be good friends. All people in Zekhnova know they've been competing against each other since the day they were born.
Should Maria appear in the chapel wearing a new sundress, it won't be long before Nastasya follows her example. Should there be a towel to be embroidered and Maria copes faster, Nastasya is sure to be catching up at night, unwilling to give up. Of all the marriageable men in Zekhnova, both have fallen for Stepan, a native of Spitsyna. Whose heart is he going to break?
The glow of kindling wood is bright and the hut is filled with light. Zekhnova lasses are showing off their new distaffs.