How Much Land Does a Man Need?

All you need is greed to kill a simple man.

“All right,” thought the Devil. “We will have a tussle. I’ll give you land enough; and by means of that land I will get you into my power.”

Replace land with anything; money, popularity, or fame. Once you are lost in purpose, it’s a losing game. The lesson in this short parable has never been more valid than ever.

What are we working for every day? What are we giving up, trying to achieve that?

This story is asking you the very definition of possession. The more we possess, the more we desire. It’s endless…

These remarks by protagonist Pahom sound too familiar…

“Other people are buying,” said he, “and we must also buy twenty
acres or so. Life is becoming impossible.”

Why should I suffer in this narrow hole, if one can live so well elsewhere?

“There now,” thought Pahom, “with my one thousand roubles, why
should I get only thirteen hundred acres, and saddle myself with a
debt besides. If I take it out there, I can get more than ten times
as much for the money.”

Let’s not lose purpose of why we are doing, whatever we are doing. No matter how much you accumulate your possessions, it won’t matter at all in the end.

His servant picked up the spade and dug a grave long enough for Pahom to lie in, and buried him in it. Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed.

 

How Much Land Does a Man Need? and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
Leo Tolstoy
Penguin Classics
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