When does the story take place in Leo Tolstoy's book "Master and Man?"
Leo Tolstoy's short story "Master and Man" takes place in Russia, during nighttime in winter (December 8th) most likely some time in the 1870's:
"It happened in the 'seventies in winter, on the day after St. Nicholas's Day."
This could, in theory, refer to the 1770's or earlier, but seeing as the late 1800's are Tolstoy's era it would make sense to set the story then.
This is an unpleasant time in Russian history for most people...life was hard and the labor long. The laborer in the story was probably little more than a peasant/serf and subject to being taken advantage of by his employer...indeed, as is the case in this story.
"Andreevich did not pay Nikita the eighty rubles a year such a man was worth, but only about forty, which he gave him haphazard, in small sums, and even that mostly not in cash but in goods from his own shop and at high prices."
This is a good example of how the setting of a story and its placement in time can have a good deal of impact on the events portrayed in it.