Because of the old woman's growing age, being a washwoman was hard for her . She had to collect the laundry from the family's house and then carry it for over an hour back to her home and handle each piece at least ten times. Despite her age, her work often outshone the work of other washwomen, yet she charged the same pay.
The story takes place in a town in 1900s Poland, the home of a young boy and his family and an old washwoman who refuses to stop working and become a burden on society despite her old age.
One day when the washwoman came to collect the laundry, the town was in the middle of an awful blizzard. Despite this, she preceded to carry the load the long way back to her home to be cleaned. Usually, she was back with the laundry within two or three weeks, this time she wasn't.