man lying inside a coffin buried underneath the earth

How Much Land Does a Man Need?

by Leo Tolstoy

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How does Pahom get the money to buy his first forty acres of land?

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In the story, Pahom can only come up with half the purchase price for the forty acres. So, he strikes a deal with the seller, and she agrees to accept half of the payment for the land, with the remainder to be paid within two years.

In order to come up with half the purchase price, Pahom and his wife hire out one of their sons for labor, and they take his wages in advance to put towards the land. Pahom also sells half of his bees and a colt. After also accounting for a hundred roubles they have laid aside for the down-payment, Pahom borrows the remainder from his brother-in-law. 

To his great joy, the harvest from the land is so plentiful that Pahom eventually manages to pay off his debts to the seller and to his brother-in-law within a year.

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