About The Author

Leo Tolstoy, one of the greatest authors of all time, was born in Tula Province of modern-day Russia on the 9th of September, 1828. He lost his parents at a very tender age. Tolstoy tried his luck in every sphere of life, from Oriental languages program at the Universities of Kazan, farming to being a Junker in the Army on his brother’s insistence. Leading his way in the Army, he also fought the Crimean war through August 1855. He was lost in all his ways to his destiny, but there was something that always remained with him – his diary.

Leo was meant to be a writer from the very moment he started filling the blank pages with all the years of his life, right from childhood. While in army, he started writing a book reminiscing his childhood, the sketch of which Tolstoy was allowed to publish in “The Contemporary”, that became Tolstoy’s first published works. He also kept an anecdote of his days spent in the army, while posted in Caucasus.

“War and Peace” (published in 1860s) and “Anna Karenina” (published in 1873) remains Tolstoy’s most loved works even today.

The Parable And Its Plot

“How much land does a man need” is a wonderful tale illustrating the fascination of people for a materialistic life.

The story starts with a comparison between the lives of a peasant and a merchant when two sisters meeting after a long time began boasting about their husbands. The central character of the story, a Russian peasant named Pakhom (the younger sister’s husband), joined in their conversation saying his life would have no worries only if he had enough of land to live by. “Give me enough of land and I’d fear no one – not even the Devil himself”. Over hearing their conversation, the Devil thought to test the peasant by fulfilling what he wished for.

Days passed by and the peasant kept gaining more and more land. More than even what he dreamt of, and so he earned his greed. He even left his family and people around him behind to be fulfil his greed of having more land. He finally got a chance to own the whole of a land he can walk around from at sunrise to sunset. The only condition was that he returns to the same point from where he started. The lands were owned by Bashkirs. The peasant began walking at sunrise the following day. He walked and walked till there was not an ounce of strength remaining in his body thinking, “If I stopped now, after coming all this way – well, they’d call me an idiot!” So did he reach the same point before sunset? And if he did, would own the piece of land he walked on and become a wealthy landowner? You should definitely read the book to find out what happens next.

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Outcome And Learning

The moral of the story is not that we shouldn’t take the lead in order to fulfill our dreams. But, there is thin line between our dreams and our greed. “If I stopped now, after coming all this way – well, they’d call me an idiot.” These lines are not meant to convey negativity, but, to keep fighting even at the point when we lose all our hope. The peasant misunderstood these lines and tried to gain more and more land, which he needed in leu of his greed.

I am not sure how does this parable fit in today’s materialistic world, where people only want to achieve more than what is actually required. But, we need to remember that we have to pay a price for everything we do in life. It doesn’t convey that we shouldn’t head for more than a piece of land. But, while heading forward, we need to look around in order to reflect to the situations around us.

Finally yet importantly, I recommend you all to read this wonderful and inspiring parable that enforces us to think about the way we live our life. Living gracefully with everyone around us, we should always know when to stop and when to go forward seamlessly.

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