How much land does a man need?



Leo Tolstoy Short Story Ambition Russia URSS

In this short story by Leo Tolstoy, a rich peasant named Pahom hears about good lands in the Bashkins' country, on the other side of the river Volga. They are humble people and he is able to get all the land he wants out of them without any problems. When Pahom arrives at the Bashkins' country, they tell them that, for a thousand rubles, he can have all the land he is able to circle in a day.

Pahom is ecstatic and despises them for their lack of sophistication. He's convinced he'd be able to cover a long distance. However, right after he starts walking, he stumbles upon interesting areas that he decides to include in his 'conquered' land, such as a pond here, or a piece of land especially apropriate to cultivate linen there. Until he suddenly realizes the sun is setting.

Realizing he is under the risk of losing everything, he runs as fast as he can to be able to get to where he started from on time. "I was too ambitious", he tells himself, "I ruined the whole deal". The strain ends up killing him. He dies next to the finishing pole and is buried there. "6ft from head to toe was all the land he needed" was Tolstoy conclusion.



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