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How Much Land Does a Man Need?

by Leo Tolstoy
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When Pahóm receives news of a new commune, what plan forms in his mind?

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When Pahom hears of a new commune beyond the Volga, he plans to sell his present homestead and to begin afresh at the new settlement. Pahom's decision is based on the fact that he has recently quarreled with his neighbors.

Because of a need for more pasture, Pahom's neighbors continue to let their cows and horses wander onto Pahom's land. On one occasion, someone even cut down five of his lime trees for bark. Even though Pahom thinks that Simon is the culprit, the judge and jury decide that there is not enough evidence against Simon to convict Simon for the crime. This greatly upsets Pahom; therefore, when the peasant tells Pahom that a man will be given twenty-five acres at the new commune, he jumps at the opportunity.

First, Pahom decides to venture to the new commune to ascertain matters for himself. What he sees there greatly pleases him. Aside from the twenty-five acres he will get at the new commune, Pahom discovers that he can purchase free-hold land for fifty cents an acre.

When he returns home, Pahom begins selling off his belongings. He is able to sell his land for a profit and to withdraw his membership from the present commune. After selling off his homestead and his cattle, Pahom moves his family to the new settlement in the spring.

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