Bank of the river Vorskla. Here comes the sad Natalka. She longs for her beloved Petro, who has been working abroad for five years already. Vozniy Tetervakovsky appears and declares his love to Natalka. Nevertheless, a poor but proud girl refuses – they are no match.
Singing a humorous song, enters Viborniy Makohonenko. Vozniy tells him about Natalka and asks the village headman to intercede with her on his behalf.
At Terpilikha’s house. Mother blames her daughter for rejecting all grooms, while they are in a great need. Natalia replies that she only loves Petro and will be waiting for him.
Viborniy Makohonenko enters the house. He advises to marry Natalka off for Vozniy Tetervakovsky and thus get rid of poverty. To calm her mother she agrees to marry Vozniy.
A street in the village. Natalka still hopes for Petro’s return. Meanwhile, boys and girls come to her engagement. All go to the house. Burlak Mykola tells about his miserable fate.
Singing a sad song, Petro comes to the village. From a conversation with Mykola, he learns about Natalka’s marriage. The young man is in despair. He asks Mykola to find out whether Natalka is getting married on her own will.
Natalka rushes in. She swears to Peter that she loves only him, and now, when he is back, she says no to Vozniy. Tetervakovsky and Terpilikha are outraged. Peter decides to accept his fate and go away, so as not to upset Natalka’s mother. Terpilikha is touched by Petro’s gesture. Vozniy is also touched and decides to do at least one good deed in his life. He refuses from Natalka. Terpilikha gives her blessing to Natalka and Petro. The couple invites everyone to their wedding.