In a Russian city there lived a shoemaker, Martin Avdyeitch, whose home was in a basement, a little room with one window that looked out on the street. Through the window he used to watch the people passing by, and although he could only see their feet, Martin recognized people by their boots. He had lived for many years in one place, had many acquaintances, and few pairs of boots in his district had not been in his hands at least once. Some he would half-sole, some he would patch, some he would stitch around, and occasionally he would also fit them with new uppers. Consequently, he often recognized his work through the window.
Martin had plenty to do, because he was a faithful workman, used good materials, did not charge exorbitantly, and kept his word. If it was possible for him to finish an order by a certain time, he would accept it; otherwise, he would not deceive—he would tell the person so beforehand. Everyone knew Martin Avdyeitch, and he was never out of work.