The Kreutzer Sonata, And Other Stories : Book 02, Chapter 03

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1889

People

(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "It usually happens that when an idea which has been useful and even necessary in the past becomes superfluous, that idea, after a more or less prolonged struggle, yields its place to a new idea which was till then an ideal, but which thus becomes a present idea." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
• "The Government and all those of the upper classes near the Government who live by other people's work, need some means of dominating the workers, and find this means in the control of the army. Defense against foreign enemies is only an excuse. The German Government frightens its subjects about the Russians and the French; the French Government, frightens its people about the Germans; the Russian Government frightens its people about the French and the Germans; and that is the way with all Governments. But neither Germans nor Russians nor Frenchmen desire to fight their neighbors or other people; but, living in peace, they dread war more than anything else in the world." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "You are surprised that soldiers are taught that it is right to kill people in certain cases and in war, while in the books admitted to be holy by those who so teach, there is nothing like such a permission..." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)

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Book 02, Chapter 03

CHAPTER III.

Ivan having succeeded in plowing all but a small portion of his land, he returned the next day to finish it. The pain in his stomach continued, but he felt that he must go on with his work. He tried to start his plow, but it would not move; it seemed to have struck a hard root. It was the small devil in the ground who had wound his feet around the plowshares and held them.

“This is strange,” thought Ivan. “There were never any roots here before, and this is surely one.”

Ivan put his hand in the ground, and, feeling something soft, grasped and pulled it out. It was like a root in appearance, but seemed to possess life. Holding it up he saw that it was a little devil. Disgusted, he exclaimed, “See the nasty thing,” and he proceeded to strike it a blow, intending to kill it, when the young devil cried out:

“Do not kill me, and I will grant your every wish.”

“What can you do for me?”

“Tell me what it is you most wish for,” the little devil replied.

Ivan, peasant-fashion, scratched the back of his head as he thought, and finally he said:

“I am dreadfully sick at my stomach. Can you cure me?”

“I can,” the little devil said.

“Then do so.”

The little devil bent toward the earth and began searching for roots, and when he found them he gave them to Ivan, saying: “If you will swallow some of these you will be immediately cured of whatsoever disease you are afflicted with.”

Ivan did as directed, and obtained instant relief.

“I beg of you to let me go now,” the little devil pleaded; “I will pass into the earth, never to return.”

“Very well; you may go, and God bless you;” and as Ivan pronounced the name of God, the small devil disappeared into the earth like a flash, and only a slight opening in the ground remained.

Ivan placed in his hat what roots he had left, and proceeded to plow. Soon finishing his work, he turned his plow over and returned home.

When he reached the house he found his brother Simeon and his wife seated at the supper-table. His estate had been confiscated, and he himself had barely escaped execution by making his way out of prison, and having nothing to live upon had come back to his father for support.

Turning to Ivan he said: “I came to ask you to care for us until I can find something to do.”

“Very well,” Ivan replied; “you may remain with us.”

Just as Ivan was about to sit down to the table Simeon’s wife made a wry face, indicating that she did not like the smell of Ivan’s sheep-skin coat; and turning to her husband she said, “I shall not sit at the table with a moujik [peasant] who smells like that.”

Simeon the soldier turned to his brother and said: “My lady objects to the smell of your clothes. You may eat in the porch.”

Ivan said: “Very well, it is all the same to me. I will soon have to go and feed my horse any way.”

Ivan took some bread in one hand, and his caftan (coat) in the other, and left the room.

From : Gutenberg.org

Chronology

November 30, 1888 :
Book 02, Chapter 03 -- Publication.

February 16, 2017 19:28:00 :
Book 02, Chapter 03 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

May 28, 2017 15:35:39 :
Book 02, Chapter 03 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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