It was the time of year when the snow started to melt and make nice mud puddles in the street. Two girls, Malasha and Akulya, meet after church on Sunday. Their mothers had dressed them in their Sunday best. There was a muddy puddle, and the girls just couldn't resist. They were careful at first, but eventually Akulya splashed on Malasha's dress. Malasha's mother noticed how her dress was dirty and scolded her. Malasha, of course, blamed Akulya so the mother slapped Akulya on the back of the head. That made Akulya cry, and Akulya's mother came to her defense. Both mothers argued heatedly, and then the men came out and joined in the argument. Eventually a whole crowd was arguing, almost coming to blows over this incident. . An old lady tries to tell them to stop, but she is ignored and practically knocked off her feet.
In the meantime, the two little girls continue to play with the muddy water and joyfully follow a piece of wood they put into the muddy stream they had dug. The old lady points to the young girls and tells the people not to bother fighting, the little girls themselves have forgotten about it and are playing again and that the others should follow their example. Everyone calms down and goes home.
Tolstoy ends his story with a quote from the Bible:
"'Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
This statement means that unless you change and become like little children, who forget their worries and refrain from holding grudges, you shall not reach the kingdom of heaven. Children readily forgive and forget, and adults need to do the same. There are many different translations of this quote depending on your source, but for the most part it says that we must become as little children if we plan to reach the kingdom of heaven.