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Много ли человеку земли нужно

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Рассказ, впервые опубликованный в 1886 году.

15 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 1886

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About the author

Leo Tolstoy

6,151 books22.8k followers
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; most appropriately used Liev Tolstoy; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider Tolstoy to have been one of the world's greatest novelists. Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.

His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,157 reviews
Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,260 reviews5,353 followers
December 21, 2022
متر في مترين هو نصيبك من فراشك
متر في مترين هو نصيبك في مكتبك
متر في مترين هو ما يكفيك في مركبتك
و متر في مترين هو ملكيتنا النهائية على كوكب الارض
الشيء المحزن انه في بلادنا صارت هذه المساحة الصغيرة تتعدى دائمآ الماءتي الف جنيه.. و اسعار الموت صارت تنافس اسعار الحياة

و{خلف المدفأة جلس الشيطان يسمع و قبل التحدى }؟
:و هكذا يخبرنا تولستوي في قصته المسموعة انك
لن تعرف الخوف و التعب و النصب الا عندما يصبح بحوزتك ما تخسره
اول مرة اعرف عبر هذه القصة ان هناك من يشرب لبن الخيول ؟؟!🐴 و يصنعون منه جبن و منتجات عجيبة مختلفة

رغم ان كل احداثها متوقعة الا انها تظل من اجمل القصص عن 💰الطمع

Profile Image for Sanjay Gautam.
222 reviews441 followers
November 10, 2015

If you're thinking to read a short story then read this one. It will be the finest short story you are ever going to read.

James Joyce wrote to his daughter that it is "the greatest story that the literature of the world knows".

Truly a masterpiece! A timeless story.

Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
June 3, 2019
When I was reviewing another classic Russian short story of avarice, The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin, I kept asking myself, what was that other Russian short story about greed, where the man is walking around the grasslands, stepping off the land he wants to claim, and who wrote it? Well, it was Leo Tolstoy, duh, and this was the story (thank you, Google). It's fairly straightforward, but the ending packs a punch, and it's always stuck with me.

Tolstoy wrote this short story/novelette in 1886, as a morality tale. It's divided into nine brief sections or chapters. The New York Times comments that this division into nine parts is known as the "skaz" form - a Russian oral tradition that uses "informal expressions of oral speech by a simple rural narrator," which I thought was cool.

The main character in this parable is a Russian peasant named Pahom. One night Pahom is listening to his wife and her sister arguing about whether city or country life is best. Pahom agrees with his wife that a peasant's life is overall good: it's hard work but they avoid the evils and temptations of the city.
"Busy as we are from childhood tilling mother earth, we peasants have no time to let any nonsense settle in our heads. Our only trouble is that we haven’t land enough. If I had plenty of land, I shouldn’t fear the Devil himself!"
In these types of stories you really should steer clear of tempting fate or the Devil. The Devil himself overhears Pahom (remember, we're talking about a Russian morality tale here) and decides to give Pahom enough land to see if his greed will overcome him.

So Pahom begins to grow wealthy, and buys some land, and gets into arguments with his neighbors about said land, and takes off to another part of the country and buys some more land, and somehow it never is enough. Then one day he hears that the Bashkir people have ample land, wonderful land, that they're practically giving away. All he has to do is pay a flat amount and then go walk around and mark the land he wants. Whatever land he is able to mark off in one day will be his, but he needs to return to his starting point before the sun sets, or he loses his money and the land.


I highly recommend reading this story for yourself. It's short but powerful, especially the last third. It's available free online many places, including here.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
February 13, 2016
This was perfect, simply perfect. It’s a masterful short story.

The wonderful Leo Tolstoy truly captured a grim aspect of human nature in just a few pages. He uses a farmer’s greed as an allegory for man’s ever growing ambition. What man has is never enough; he is always trying to go forward to grasp bigger things. But, in this, there is the ultimate danger of overreaching oneself. Man can only go so far before he destroys himself.

"Although he feared death, he could not stop. 'If I stopped now, after coming all this way - well, they'd call me an idiot!'"

-spoilers below, though the ending is very obvious-

Tolstoy’s farmer begins with owning just a small strip of land; he is restricted and poor, so he naturally wants more. He scrimps and he saves; he borrows and he makes promises. In doing so he manages to buy a healthy twenty acres. This is enough for any man. The farmer is initially happy with what he has earnt; however, he begins resent the poorer farmers he was once counted amongst. He saves up again, this time to buy a more private lot of land. He surrounds himself with his family, so no lowly farmer can intrude on his land. But, this again, isn’t enough. He is seduced by the possibility of unlimited land in a faraway country. He is told that he can have as much of it that he wants; he can have all the land he can cover on foot in one day provided he reaches the starting point by nightfall of the same day. Consequently, he dies in the process of trying to acquire too much. He’s greedy heart gave up on him, and stopped forever.


This story is a powerful allegory for the dangers of man’s greed and his ability to overstep himself. He is fuelled by self-betterment, but, ultimately, he will reach a point where he has gone too far. The farmer has many opportunities to be contented, though he couldn’t accept what he had. He constantly wanted more. Tolstoy shows us how this can lead to one’s own self-destruction. This story was superb; it was powerful and wonderfully appropriate.

This is exactly why I bought this collection, to have a taste of authors like this. I’ve had somewhat of low rating slump with these editions lately, and this one brought me back from the edges of despair. I was starting to get rather annoyed with the penguin little black classics because the last few were very disagreeable to me. This was just perfect; I’ve found an author whose works I’ll be exploring in the future. I’m going to start with Anna Karenina, which I will, no doubt, be reviewing later in the year.

Penguin Little Black Classic- 57


The Little Black Classic Collection by penguin looks like it contains lots of hidden gems. I couldn’t help it; they looked so good that I went and bought them all. I shall post a short review after reading each one. No doubt it will take me several months to get through all of them! Hopefully I will find some classic authors, from across the ages, that I may not have come across had I not bought this collection.

This has been my favourite edition so far! What a great way to start my reading year; it makes me want to finally push through the last fourty of these!

Profile Image for Kimber Silver.
Author 1 book221 followers
March 13, 2023
How much land indeed?

Tolstoy crafted this masterfully-written tale in 1886 and it has not lost its significance in the interim. A peasant farmer, Pahom, aspires to acquire more land than he has, and with it a subsequently increased income. He currently feels unable to reach these lofty goals, so sets out in the hope that a beneficial deal will sparkle on the horizon. Unfortunately, his hopes are dashed with each new endeavor.
Then, by a stroke of luck, the ‘golden goose’ of buys falls into his lap. Pahom learns of a place far away that is farmed by ignorant, lazy people who are willing to give their land away for trinkets. Confident he'll outsmart them and gain what his heart desires most, he gambles everything.

But is a bird in the hand always worth two in the bush?
This superb story can be read for free in less than thirty minutes and will answer the question of how much land a man needs at the end of the day.
Profile Image for Kevin Ansbro.
Author 5 books1,393 followers
February 19, 2022
"Ambition is but avarice on stilts."
—Walter Savage Landor

A parable about greed and covetousness.
Pahom, a peasant farmer, needs more land to make more money but doesn't have enough money to purchase more land. So when two seemingly simple-minded landowners offer him as much land as he can grab for a pittance, he seeks to exploit their naivety.
So which of the following two adages will prove to be appropriate?
"Never look a gift horse in the mouth."
"There is no such thing as a free lunch."

Tolstoy, a moralist, will tell you exactly how much land a man needs...

This tale takes less than thirty minutes to read and is free online: http://www.online-literature.com/tols...
Profile Image for Fernando.
680 reviews1,088 followers
February 8, 2017
"El que mucho abarca, poco apreta." ¡Qué maravilla de cuento! Por algo era el preferido de James Joyce. Pajom me recuerda a Chichikov, el personaje principal de Almas Muertas de Nikólai Gógol y al padre de Eugènie Grandet cuando se encerraba a contar sus monedas de oro. Un cuento con una gran moraleja sobre los peligros de la avaricia sin limites. Me encantó...
Profile Image for Ladan.
184 reviews344 followers
October 17, 2019

How much power does a man need?

The story is about the greed of a man for possessing more lands, but I see it as the insatiable appetite of the human being for power. When given power, one shows one's real face to an extent that would shock oneself! If you want to unravel the real face of your boss, your parents, your siblings, your love, your friends, even YOURSELF, be defenceless and give them power. Pahom was looking for more farmlands, yet he had no idea how much more? When he was given the choice to own the lands he sought for more, he lost control, he lost his life on the path to more!
And that very moment of him realizing that he lost himself in the game for more was so bitter and heartbreaking.

Profile Image for فايز غازي Fayez Ghazi .
Author 2 books3,590 followers
February 5, 2023
- القصة متجذرة في القدم في كل الحضارات، كأني بالإسكندر المقدوني يوصي اصحابه عند موته "دعوا يدي خارج التابوت ليعرف الناس ان الإسكندر ذو القرنين مات خالي اليدين"....

- الصبغة الدينية التي اضفاها تولستوي كانت لطيفة، فالطمع من الشيطان...
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,739 reviews2,265 followers
September 26, 2018
Written by Tolstoy in 1886, this is a short story about greed. A peasant man, Parkhom, desires more land, and that desire will cost him dearly.

When Pakhom’s wife and her sister are debating the merits of city life vs. country, Pakhom takes his wife’s side, sharing his belief that their only problem is that they haven’t enough land.

“We only have one grief—too little land! If I had plenty of land, I’d fear no one—not the devil himself!”

Of course, the devil overhears this, and the rest is a short, but worthwhile read which can be found at:

Thank you to my friend, Kevin Ansbro, for bringing this one to my attention!
Profile Image for Micah Cummins.
201 reviews186 followers
March 14, 2022
33rd book of 2022

Our only trouble is that we haven't land enough. If I had plenty of land, I shouldn't fear the Devil himself!"How Much Land Does a Man Need Leo Tolstoy

How Much Land Does a Man Need is a moralistic short story, told in parable form. Our main character, Pahóm is a peasant farmer who overhears his wife and sister-in-law talking about the differences between the conditions of city life and of village life. Pahóm's wife says that she won't trade her life for anything, and while they may not be rich, they will also never go hungry. Pahóm, listening in to the conversation agrees, saying to himself that it is true; the peasant does not have much to be anxious about when tilling the earth. The only thing he can think of that could be better is if he could just have more land. If he could have more land, then his life truly could be perfect, and rival that even of the most majestic city socialite.

He sets off to accumulate more and more land. Every time he adds to his estate, the only feeling he has is one of discontent. All he can think of is island, land, land. He must have more land. Then, he would have a perfect life.

He is given an offer, a proposal from a local tribe that he cannot refuse. For only 1,000 rubles, he can have all of the lands that he can traverse in one day's time. The only caveat, he must start and return to the same exact location before the sun sets, and all that he has covered will be signed over to him. He sets off, starting his day's journey with vigor and determination. Knowing in his soul that he will be able to cover thirty miles, maybe more. And think of all that land. In the end, his greed becomes his destroyer, and his determination becomes his torment. He can have all the land he can cover in one single day, for only 1,000 rubles, but what is the true cost he will have to pay?

Of course, I am sure that the ending of this moral tale is one that many will not be surprised by. It is a cautionary tale, warning against the destructive power that greed can play in someone's life.

I enjoyed this very short piece and would recommend it to anyone. I only wish I had read this sooner in my journey of Russian literature, it would have been a great place to start. Five stars.
Profile Image for MihaElla .
205 reviews340 followers
January 30, 2023
The male hero of this very short tale, peasant Pakhom, reminds me greatly of my maternal grandmother :) If she were still around here on this Earth, I would tell her that she has a male correspondent in the same realm of activity as she used to, and I know she would be thrilled about it. Then I would tell her what he did and how he ended, and she will conclude wisely: 'Oh, this is such nonsense! What rubbish are you reading?' 😆

My grandmother didn’t read one book in her lifetime , however her mother, who was a very skilled tailoress, used to read books like one is breathing for fresh air. She never cooked and she was always asking my grandmother to give her some food, of what she used to prepare daily, otherwise she could have gone starving but never giving up on reading books. Years back I recall my mother telling me how angrily my grandmother used to react when seeing her mother in that ‘parallel’ plane of living but, although she roared with unkindly comments, she always did share her food generously.

I didn’t know my great-grandmother in life, but only from the pictures. Based on the stories I have heard from my mother, I feel I would have liked to get to know her better, but she was gone before I was landed here :) Anyway, coming back to my grandmother, I can’t help smiling of how grand the resemblance is between her and peasant Pakhom. She loved land more than herself and so far I’ve never met anyone like her. She was unique, but now the top place is split between her and Pakhom. Still my grandmother was luckier, she was almost to hit 88!

Poor Pakhom! The final race for land consumed all his living energy and left him breathless, dropping dead, whilst the sun was setting behind a high hill. He did his best however, still let’s not forget that greed is not a fair competitor. One cannot allow this villain too deep into the skin otherwise the end is surely not very bright. Though, of course, exceptions may occur, such was with my grandmother 😂
320 reviews348 followers
October 14, 2018
يقول رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: واستعينوا بالغدوة والروحة وشئ من الدُلجة، إن المنبت لا أرضاً قطع ولا ظهراً أبقى
المثل المصرى يقول : أجر يا ابن آدم جرى الوحوش غير رزقك لن تحوش ( تحوز )
هذا هو حال باهوم بطل قصتنا الذى ظل يجرى ويجرى خلف الثراء والمال دون تعب أو كلل وكلما سنحت له الفرصة لزيادة حصته من الأرض فى الدنيا انتقل لمكان تزيد فيه حصته ويزداد فيه ثراؤه إلى قضى عليه طمعه وحبه فى الزيادة وقضى نحبه فلم تزد حصته من الأرض عن متر * مترين أو مايكفى ليوارى جثته.
Profile Image for Oziel Bispo.
499 reviews68 followers
February 27, 2022
"Se eu tivesse muita terra, não temeria nem mesmo o próprio diabo" Assim falou Pakhóm um camponês obcecado por ter sempre mais terras ,sempre mais. ..Nunca estava satisfeito com o que tinha. Lógico que devemos ser ambiciosos em crescer na vida , mas esse senhor era demais ,uma ambição sem fim ,a ponto de desafiar o diabo! Um conto de Tolstoi que mexeu comigo...adorei e James Joyce também:ele disse que " De quanta terra um homem precisa" é o melhor conto já escrito.
Profile Image for Rosh [semi-hiatus].
1,434 reviews1,369 followers
July 14, 2021
A classic tale of greed where one forgets one's needs and strives after material goods. Had read this once long ago, and read it once again tonight. Still as delightful. Tolstoy's short stories always leave a big impact.

Available for free online on many sites as this story is in the public domain.
Profile Image for Archit.
824 reviews3,224 followers
August 16, 2017
Masterfully written.

If you are looking for a story to read in a short span, it must be your first choice!
Profile Image for Axl Oswaldo.
332 reviews145 followers
March 18, 2022
A good friend of mine and I are reading some Russian classics together this year, and I couldn’t be enjoying this journey more.

How Much Land Does a Man Need? is a very short tale with a great, powerful message – this is, in my opinion, the best way to describe such a piece of literature.
Tolstoy, as always, knows how to describe clearly and deeply what is happening in his stories – his prose in this case is somehow straightforward (the story is too short, the shortest I have read by him), but at the same time, quite meaningful, enjoyable, and furthermore, with a remarkable, astonishing ending (whose final lines had indeed a big impact on me). Perhaps the ending is kind of predictable due to the events that are taking place throughout the story, however, the way everything ends up being is in fact so remarkable that you will never forget that part.

A story about greed and selfishness, a man who constantly wants more and more and is never satisfied, alas, life doesn't work like that; and so, eventually his destiny comes to one question: will he be able to learn his lesson before it is too late?
I'd wholeheartedly recommend this short story, whether you want to read this author for the first time or continue reading his works.

“There is plenty of land,” thought he, “but will God let me live on it?"
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,559 reviews8,686 followers
April 1, 2019
“The further one goes, the better the land seems. ”
― Leo Tolstoy, How Much Land Does a Man Need?


Vol N° 57 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. This volume contains two of Tolstoy's best short stories: "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" (1836) and "What Men Live By" (1835). I loved them both. The title story is a nearly perfect parable of a Russian peasant's pursuit of land (and the Devil's pursuit of the peasant). Joyce is supposed to have considered this the world's greatest story. I'm not sure about THAT claim JJ, but I loved it. The second story "What Men Live By" is also nearly perfect. It is very Russian and while it is fundamentally VERY religious, it develops its religous theme slowly and almost backs into the holy ending.
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,032 reviews1,423 followers
March 14, 2022
First Read: April 2018, Rating: 4/5 stars
Second Read: March 2022, Rating: 4/5 stars

This slim volume contains two Tolstoy short stories, which I enjoyed equally during both readings. Both were interesting but it was the insights to human nature that make them such timelessly enjoyable reads.

How Much Land Does a Man Need - 4/5 stars
What Men Live By - 4/5 stars
Profile Image for Najeefa Nasreen.
62 reviews65 followers
June 25, 2022
5/5 stars

I always have mixed feelings about short stories. There are times when I feel I prefer long books that can keep me engrossed in its story for a really really long time. Sometimes, I feel short stories are equally capable of keeping me captivated. I had read How Much Land Does A Man Need? in my school days. The story got etched in my heart then. I'm equally amazed by the story on my reread as I was the first time I read the story.

It tells a story of a man's need slowly, gradually, and exponentially getting converted into greed. Tolstoy uses greed as an allegory for a man's ever-growing ambitions.

Our needs have no boundaries. Nothing is ever enough for us. We all should be ambitious. The question is, what is the extent to it?

It is a perfect life lesson teacher. It is a true masterpiece. It is what we all need to know. It is what we all should know.

Review Posted: 25 June 2022.

Visit My Blog to read this and all my other reviews.
Profile Image for hosein.
79 reviews11 followers
December 9, 2022
"Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed."

تولستوی این قابلیت را دارد که خیلی ساده، واضح و زیبا داستانی را برای ما تعریف کند که در پس سادگی آن پیامی قوی نهفته باشد که هیچکس نتواند نسبت به آن بی‌تفاوت بماند، این امر اجتناب ناپذیر که انقدر قویست شمارا به فکر فرو می‌برد و هیچوقت از ذهنتان پاک نمی‌شود.
جاه طلبی انسان. چیزی که هر روز با چشمان خودمان می‌بینیم و شاید روزی خودمان به این بیماری دچار شویم.
پاخوم یک کشاورز ناراضی‌است که هرچه دارد به اندازه ای که باید باشد نیست. او بیشتر می‌خواهد، حتی اگر مجبور شود جانش را نیز برای هدفش فدا می‌کند. این زمانی‌ است که خود را بر سر دوراهی می‌یابیم که نام کتاب است: مگر یک آدم چقدر زمین می‌خواهد؟
Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,365 reviews151 followers
November 2, 2019
Escrita hace 133 años, esta parábola sobre la ambición humana, que se lee en un suspiro, sigue igual de vigente que entonces, aunque tantos años después nos suene a ya leído.

#Popsugar 2019 Reto 33: Un libro con una pregunta en el título
Profile Image for Tamoghna Biswas.
269 reviews107 followers
August 21, 2021
More of a parable than a short story, almost took me back to those days of listening to my father reading Aesop’s Fables for me. Almost just as delightful with a healthy dose of moral lessons, though if I’m being entirely honest, I feel I have outgrown all these a bit too early. Nostalgia isn’t as captivating when it ignores your perspective by leaving absolutely nothing up to your judgement. A similar story-skeleton is used in innumerable stories later, including some of Tolstoy’s own, but probably he grew more considerate to his audience with time. It begins in a more subtle way than the obvious way it ends, and that messes with the tonality too. Or so I feel.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m aware of the story’s influences. That’s what got me into reading it in the first place. Just saying it’s considerably less impactful for me than Tolstoy’s other works.
Profile Image for Lou.
206 reviews82 followers
December 31, 2017
Preciosa edición ilustrada para una historia muy cortita pero que transmite un importante mensaje: el afán de poseer, de no tener nunca suficiente acaba pasando factura y es que "la avaricia rompe el saco".
Profile Image for Ola Al-Najres.
383 reviews1,126 followers
October 8, 2019
لطالما رأيت في الطمع المُتستر باسم الطموح سُماً أردى بسعادتنا و سلامنا الداخلي كبشر زائلين سنرحل يوماً عن هذه الدنيا مُخلفين وراءنا كلّ ما ركضنا خلفه لاهثين و متناسين أن نحيا ، و أجل .. من حق كل إنسان الحصول على حياة كريمة تعفيه من التذلل للآخرين ، لكن متى تحصل على مقومات العيش الكريم و بقيّ يعدو خلف أمجاد خياله سيقع فريسة الشيطان ، و سيظل يعدو و يعدو و عن كل سراب سينبثق سراب آخر ، إلى أن يسقط في حفرة على مقاس جسده فقط هي كل ما سيشغله من هذه الدنيا ، و العبرة لمن اعتبر .
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