Page:Tolstoy - Tales from Tolstoi.djvu/130

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HOW MUCH LAND DOES A MAN REQUIRE?

I.

An elder sister from town visited a younger sister in the country. The elder was married to a merchant, the younger to a simple muzhik (i.e., peasant). The sisters drank tea together, and talked. The elder sister held her head high. She fell to boasting of her town life; how she lived and moved about in ease and comfort; how nicely she dressed her children; what delicious things she had to eat and drink, and how pleasant it was to be always driving about or going to the theatre. The younger sister was vexed. She began to run down town life, and exalt country life. "I would not change my condition for yours," said she. "I'll grant you that our life is dull, but it is without care. You live more finely, no doubt; but if trade brings you in much, it may also ruin you in an instant. The proverb says: 'Gain has a big brother called Loss.' To-day you are pretty rich, to-morrow you may be begging your bread beneath my windows. Our rustic life is surer—we are not rich, perhaps, but we always have enough."

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