How Much Land Does a Man Require?

Image Credit : Picjumbo

Remember there was a short story by Leo Tolstoy in your 10th standard literature book, Now is the time, to visit your old memories again, but this time to learn a life lesson.

The story goes as follows:

Pahom is a poor man who proclaims to himself that if he had enough land he would not even fear the Devil. The Devil, of course, hears this and decides to give him land without him knowing. Pahom took the chance for land, and loved it at first.

Pahom then becomes very possessive of his land, and wanted more. As the story went on, he bought more and more land, and grew tired, and moved and bought even more. Finally he came to the Bashkirs, a family with a huge amount of land.

Pahom goes to them to buy as much of their land for as low a price as he can negotiate. Their offer is very unusual: for a sum of one thousand rubles, Pahom can walk around as large an area as he wants, starting at daybreak, marking his route with a spade along the way. If he returns to his starting point by sunset that day, all the land his route encloses will be his, but if he does not reach his starting point, he will lose his money and receive no land. He is delighted, as he believes that he can cover a great distance and has chanced upon the bargain of a lifetime.

He stays out as late as possible, marking out land until just before the sun sets. Toward the end, he realizes he is far from the starting point and runs back as fast as he can to the waiting Bashkirs. He finally arrives at the starting point just as the sun sets. The Bashkirs cheer his good fortune, but exhausted from the run, Pahom drops dead. His servant buries him in an ordinary grave only six feet long.

“Six feet from his head to his heels was all he needed.”

As Mahatma Gandhi said it beautifully

“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

Rethink your priorities, you can have too much of life or too much of possessions. Choose Wisely !

Originally published at on March 27, 2017.