"Twenty-Six Men and a Girl" is a short story written by the Russian writer Maxim Gorky in 1899, and is one of his most famous. It is a pioneering tale of social realism (the story predates Soviet socialist realism), and is a lament of lost ideals. Twenty-six men slave away in a cellar, making kringles, looked down on by all around them, including the bread bakers. Their only joy in their lives is the 16-year-old Tanya, who visits them every morning to collect kringles.
A new bread baker, a soldier, visits the kringle makers. He befriends them, and boasts of his success with women. The kringle bakers bet him that he will not be able to seduce their beloved Tanya...and watch in an agony of tension as he takes on the bet.
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