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24 Works of Leo Tolstoy

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The Death of Ivan Ilych

Story type: Literature

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[Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude] I During an interval in the Melvinski trial in the large building of the Law Courts the members and public prosecutor met in Ivan Egorovich Shebek’s private room, where the conversation turned on the celebrated Krasovski case. Fedor Vasilievich warmly maintained that it was not subject to their jurisdiction, […]

After the Dance

Story type: Literature

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“–AND you say that a man cannot, of himself, understand what is good and evil; that it is all environment, that the environment swamps the man. But I believe it is all chance. Take my own case . . .” Thus spoke our excellent friend, Ivan Vasilievich, after a conversation between us on the impossibility […]

Alyosha the Pot

Story type: Literature

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ALYOSHA was the younger brother. He was called the Pot, because his mother had once sent him with a pot of milk to the deacon’s wife, and he had stumbled against something and broken it. His mother had beaten him, and the children had teased him. Since then he was nicknamed the Pot. Alyosha was […]

My Dream

Story type: Literature

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“As a daughter she no longer exists for me. Can’t you understand? She simply doesn’t exist. Still, I cannot possibly leave her to the charity of strangers. I will arrange things so that she can live as she pleases, but I do not wish to hear of her. Who would ever have thought . . […]

I MINE is a strange and wonderful lot! The chances are that there is not a single wretched beggar suffering under the luxury and oppression of the rich who feels anything like as keenly as I do either the injustice, the cruelty, and the horror of their oppression of and contempt for the poor; or […]

The Young Tsar

Story type: Literature

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THE young Tsar had just ascended the throne. For five weeks he had worked without ceasing, in the way that Tsars are accustomed to work. He had been attending to reports, signing papers, receiving ambassadors and high officials who came to be presented to him, and reviewing troops. He was tired, and as a traveller […]

I An elder sister came to visit her younger sister in the country. The elder was married to a tradesman in town, the younger to a peasant in the village. As the sisters sat over their tea talking, the elder began to boast of the advantages of town life: saying how comfortably they lived there, […]

Three Questions

Story type: Literature

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It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he […]

(After Bernardin de Saint-Pierre) In the town of Surat, in India, was a coffee-house where many travellers and foreigners from all parts of the world met and conversed. One day a learned Persian theologian visited this coffee-house. He was a man who had spent his life studying the nature of the Deity, and reading and […]

What Men Live By

Story type: Literature

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“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death.” –1 “Epistle St. John” iii. 14. “Whoso hath the world’s goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in […]

Count Rostow’s affairs were going from bad to worse. He was of a warm, generous nature, with unlimited faith in his servants, and hence was blind to the mismanagement and dishonesty which had sapped his fortune. The possessor of a handsome establishment at the Russian capital, Moscow, the owner of rich provincial estates, and the […]

The Bird

Story type: Literature

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It was Serozha’s birthday, and he received many different gifts; peg tops, and hobby horses, and pictures. But Serozha’s uncle gave him a gift that he prized above all the rest; it was a trap for snaring birds. The trap was constructed in such a way that a board was fitted on the frame and […]

The Gray Hare

Story type: Literature

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A gray hare lived during the winter near a village. When night came, he would prick up one ear and listen, then he would prick up the other, jerk his whiskers, snuff, and sit up on his hind legs. Then he would give one leap, two leaps, through the snow, and sit up again on […]

Master and Man

Story type: Literature

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I It happened in the ‘seventies in winter, on the day after St. Nicholas’s Day. There was a fete in the parish and the innkeeper, Vasili Andreevich Brekhunov, a Second Guild merchant, being a church elder had to go to church, and had also to entertain his relatives and friends at home. But when the […]

I concluded, after having said every thing that concerned myself; but I cannot refrain, from a desire to say something more which concerns everybody, from verifying the deductions which I have drawn, by comparisons. I wish to say why it seems to me that a very large number of our social class ought to come […]

But what is to be done? Surely it is not we who have done this? And if not we, who then? We say: “We have not done this, this has done itself;” as the children say, when they break any thing, that it broke itself. We say, that, so long as there is a city […]

To Women

Story type: Essay

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As stated in the Bible, a law was given to the man and the woman,–to the man, the law of labor; to the woman, the law of bearing children. Although we, with our science, avons change tout ca, the law for the man, as for woman, remains as unalterable as the liver in its place, […]

MOSCOW CENSUS–FROM “WHAT TO DO?” ARTICLE ON THE CENSUS IN MOSCOW. [1882.] The object of a census is scientific. A census is a sociological investigation. And the object of the science of sociology is the happiness of the people. This science and its methods differ sharply from all other sciences. Its peculiarity lies in this, […]

A Letter to a Hindu

Story type: Literature

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THE SUBJECTION OF INDIA–ITS CAUSE AND CURE With an Introduction by M. K. GANDHI INTRODUCTION The letter printed below is a translation of Tolstoy’s letter written in Russian in reply to one from the Editor of Free Hindustan. After having passed from hand to hand, this letter at last came into my possession through a […]

"Bethink Yourselves"

Story type: Literature

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“BETHINK YOURSELVES!” “This is your hour, and the power of darkness.”–Luke xxii. 53. I Again war. Again sufferings, necessary to nobody, utterly uncalled for; again fraud; again the universal stupefaction and brutalization of men. Men who are separated from each other by thousands of miles, hundreds of thousands of such men (on the one hand–Buddhists, […]

Ivan The Fool

Story type: Literature

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CHAPTER I In a certain kingdom there lived a rich peasant, who had three sons–Simeon (a soldier), Tarras-Briukhan (fat man), and Ivan (a fool)–and one daughter, Milania, born dumb. Simeon went to war, to serve the Czar; Tarras went to a city and became a merchant; and Ivan, with his sister, remained at home to […]

A Lost Opportunity

Story type: Literature

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Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” . . . . “So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”–ST. MATTHEW xviii., 21-35. In a […]

CHAPTER I. Polikey was a court man–one of the staff of servants belonging to the court household of a boyarinia (lady of the nobility). He held a very insignificant position on the estate, and lived in a rather poor, small house with his wife and children. The house was built by the deceased nobleman whose […]

The Candle

Story type: Literature

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“Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil.”–ST. MATTHEW V. 38, 39. It was in the time of serfdom–many years before Alexander II.’s liberation of the sixty million serfs in 1862. In those days […]