A hot summer’s day. A noisy market is underway. Cherevik has come here to sell wheat and a mare. His daughter, the beautiful Parasya, is with him. Intending to scare the buyers and get the goods he needs cheaper, the Gypsy tells the crowd that not far off, a Red Coven has settled in an old barn; it belongs to the Devil and brings destruction on people. In the meantime, the peasant lad Gritsko is murmuring sweet nothings to Parasya, whose beauty has captured his heart. Cherevik is initially incensed at the lad’s bold amorousness, but on discovering that
Gritsko is the son of his old friend he has nothing against the marriage. Now it is time to go into the tavern. Cherevik emerges to go home late together with Kum. Khivrya meets her husband in fury. There is no end to her wrath when she discovers that the bridegroom is none other than the very same peasant lad who recently made fun of her. Hearing this talk, Gritsko is deeply saddened. However, the Gypsy declares he will help on the condition that the lad will sell him his oxen cheaply.
Khivrya has thrown her husband out of the house for the night under some specious excuse, and is eagerly awaiting her lover Afanasy Ivanovich. At last, the priest’s son appears, generously showering her with high-flown compliments. Tirelessly Khivrya entertains her guest. But the priest’s son’s declarations of love are interrupted by a knock at the gate – it is Cherevik and Kum with some guests. Shaking in fear, Khivrya’s lover hides on the sleeping bench. The unexpected arrivals are scared to death by the Red Coven, which rumour has it came to the fair. Only once having drunk some liquor do they calm down somewhat. Kum leads a talk about the Devil, who has pawned the inn-keeper his Red Coven, and now, disguised as a pig, is searching for it all over the fair. The sudden appearance of a pig’s snout at the window throws everyone into indescribable terror. The guests and master and mistress flee to safety.
Headed by the Gypsy, the peasant lads seize Cherevik and Kum and tie them up, ostensibly for stealing the mare. In line with the Gypsy’s cunning plan, Gritsko appears in the role of their rescuer. As a reward, the lad demands the wedding take place immediately, and Cherevik agrees gladly enough. Dreaming of Parasya, the happy bridegroom falls asleep. He dreams Chernobog and his retinue are celebrating the Witches’ Sabbath that ceases only with the peal of the church bell.
Parasya misses her beloved. And so the lovers’ meeting is even more joyous. Taking advantage of Khivrya’s absence, Cherevik blesses the young couple. All dance a hopak in joy.