How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy

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Describe Packhom's early attempts to buy land from the Barina. What did he do with the land and how did other peasants make life difficult for him?  

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Pakhom heard about the land of Bashkhirs from a merchant who drove upto his homestead one day.It was all open, grass,staple land.The people were as simple as sheep.One could get things fromthem absolutely for nothing.Pakhom was not a man who could let this opportunity slip from his hands.He left his man at home and took his workman with him.He set out after buying a chest of tea,vodka and other gifts for Bashkirs and their chief.

            Everything turned out to be as the merchant had described.The people there lived in wagons drawn up on the side of a river.They were simple people.They neither ploughed land nor ate corn.They lived on milk,tea,cheese and kumiss.They all looked sleek and cheerful.They were not educated.They did not know Russian language.When Pakhom approached them they communicated with the help of an interpreter.They warmly received Pakhom and treated them hospitably.Pakhom gave them the gifts he had bought for them.

A man in fox skin entered and everyone rose to honour him.He was Starshina, the chief of Bashkirs.Pakhom at once picked up the best of his gifts and gave them to the chief.He knew Russian and spoke to Pakhom without the help of an inerpreter.The chief agreed to sell Pakhom the land with necessary documents.The price would be one thousand roubales per day.He explained that they do not calculate on the basis land.As much land as he would walk around in a day would be given to him for only one thousand roubles.The chief also added that if Pakhom failed to return from where he started his money would not be refunded.Pakhom redaily agreed.

Next day, early in the morning began Pakhom's fateful journey to his doom.No sooner than the first rays of the sun shot over the horizon than he started off with a few mounted Bashkirs to mark the land he would cover.Pakhom walked steadily.As he would walk farther he would find the land better.It tempted him to go on and on without taking any rest.He wanted to utilize each and every moment to acquire more land and he was confident enough to do so.

He went through high grass and turning heat.He stopped to rest and ate some bread though without sitting down.He had covered long distance and he was to bend inwards.But the land behind tempted him.He kept on going untill he had taken on the ravine.He had already taken off his boots and also injured and bruised his feet.He was dead tired though he had miles to go.

Pakhom, now saw the danger of loosing his game.He pulled himself together and broke into a run.His feet bled,yet he ran on and on.He now flung away his waistcoat,boots,flask and cap.His fears made him more breathless.He would never reach the mark before sunset.He was breathless.He now even thought of avoiding death from exertion.But he was no fool.So he went on and on.He would hear the Bashkirs cheering on him with shouts and cries.He ran with his last remaining strenths.He reached the spot atlast,but fell down dead on the ground, only to be  burried on a six foot long grave.This was the land he acquired ultimately.

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