In the story, Chekhov contrasts the village and Moscow by highlighting the latter's detachment from nature.
Vanka tells us that Moscow is a "big town." It is filled with "gentlemen's houses." There are also plenty of horses and dogs there. However, there is an absence of sheep. In contrast, sheep are an intrinsic part of the village landscape. In the story, we are told that Konstantin Makaritch (Vanka's grandfather) keeps warm with a sheepskin wrap.
In the village, the people are deeply connected to nature. They hunt for their meat and know the origins of their food. In contrast, nobody knows where the meat comes from in a Moscow butcher shop. Vanka proclaims that there are plenty of "grouse and woodcocks and fish and hares" in the meat shops. However, the "shopmen" cannot tell who shot the game. In the city, people are detached from nature and from the source of their food.
Vanka prefers the village. There, the air is always crisp and fresh. In the nighttime, he can see the stars and the clear silhouette of village houses.