How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy

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Leo Tolstoy by Mikhail Nesterov, 1906. Tolstoy was born on this day in 1828

 

How Much Land Does a Man Need?

I

An elder sister came to visit her younger sister in the country.
The elder was married to a tradesman in town, the younger to a
peasant in the village. As the sisters sat over their tea talking,
the elder began to boast of the advantages of town life: saying how
comfortably they lived there, how well they dressed, what fine
clothes her children wore, what good things they ate and drank, and
how she went to the theatre, promenades, and entertainments.

The younger sister was piqued, and in turn disparaged the life of a
tradesman, and stood up for that of a peasant.

«I would not change my way of life for yours,» said she. «We may
live roughly, but at least we are free from anxiety. You live in
better style than we do, but though you often earn more than you
need, you are very likely to lose all you have. You know the proverb,
‘Loss and gain are brothers twain.’ It often happens that people who
are wealthy one day are begging their bread the next. Our way is
safer. Though a peasant’s life is not a fat one, it is a long one.
We shall never grow rich, but we shall always have enough to eat.»

The elder sister said sneeringly:

«Enough? Yes, if you like to share with the pigs and the calves!
What do you know of elegance or manners! However much your good man
may slave, you will die as you are living-on a dung heap-and your
children the same.»

«Well, what of that?» replied the younger. «Of course our work is
rough and coarse. But, on the other hand, it is sure; and we need
not bow to any one. But you, in your towns, are surrounded by
temptations; today all may be right, but tomorrow the Evil One may
tempt your husband with cards, wine, or women, and all will go to
ruin. Don’t such things happen often enough?»

Pahom, the master of the house, was lying on the top of the oven,
and he listened to the women’s chatter.

«It is perfectly true,» thought he. «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!»

The women finished their tea, chatted a while about dress, and then
cleared away the tea-things and lay down to sleep.

But the Devil had been sitting behind the oven, and had heard all
that was said. He was pleased that the peasant’s wife had led her
husband into boasting, and that he had said that if he had plenty of
land he would not fear the Devil himself.

«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.»

Continue reading:

http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/2738/

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 

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On this day in 1901, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec died at age 36

The Englishman (William Tom Warrener, 1861–1934) at the Moulin Rouge

William Tom Warrener, an English painter and friend of Lautrec’s, appears as a top-hatted gentleman chatting up two female companions at the Moulin Rouge, the dance hall that epitomized the colorful and tawdry nightlife of fin-de-siècle Paris. The women’s suggestive attitudes—and Warrener’s ear, reddened in embarrassment—indicate the risqué nature of their conversation. This painting served as a preparatory study for a color lithograph of 1892.

Ἀλεξάντερ Σολζενίτσιν (Александр Солженицын): Ἡ λίμνη Σεγκντέν

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Ἡ λίμνη Σεγκντέν   (Озеро Сегден)

 

ΓΙΑ ΤΗ ΛΙΜΝΗ ΑΥΤΗ δὲν γρά­φουν οὔ­τε μι­λοῦν φω­να­χτά. Κι ὅ­λοι οἱ δρό­μοι ποὺ ὁ­δη­γοῦν σ’ αὐ­τὴν εἶ­ναι ἀ­πο­κλει­σμέ­νοι, σὰ νὰ ἐ­πρό­κει­το γιὰ κά­ποι­ο μα­γι­κὸ κά­στρο. Πά­νω ἀ­π’ ὅ­λους τοὺς δρό­μους κρέ­με­ται μιὰ ἀ­πα­γο­ρευ­τι­κὴ πι­να­κί­δα, μὲ μιὰ ἁ­πλή, βου­βὴ γραμ­μή. Ὁ ἄν­θρω­πος ἢ τὸ ἄ­γριο ζῶ­ο ποὺ θὰ δοῦν στὸν δρό­μο τους αὐ­τὴ τὴ γραμ­μὴ θὰ πρέ­πει νὰ τὸ στρί­βουν. Τού­τη τὴ γραμ­μὴ τὴν το­πο­θε­τεῖ ἐ­κεῖ ἡ ἐ­πί­γεια ἐ­ξου­σί­α. Ση­μαί­νει: ἀ­πα­γο­ρεύ­ε­ται τὸ τα­ξι­δεύ­ειν, ἀ­πα­γο­ρεύ­ε­ται τὸ ἵ­πτα­σθαι, ἀ­πα­γο­ρεύ­ε­ται τὸ βα­δί­ζειν καὶ ἀ­πα­γο­ρεύ­ε­ται τὸ ἕρ­πειν.

Δί­πλα στοὺς δρό­μους, μέ­σα στὸ πυ­κνὸ πευ­κο­δά­σος, ἐ­νε­δρεύ­ουν φρου­ροὶ μὲ κον­τό­κα­να, πλα­τύ­στο­μα του­φέ­κια καὶ πι­στό­λια.

Τρι­γυρ­νᾶς μέ­σα στὸ σι­ω­πη­λὸ δά­σος, ὁ­λο­έ­να τρι­γυρ­νᾶς καὶ γυ­ρεύ­εις τὸν τρό­πο νὰ φτά­σεις στὴ λί­μνη – δὲν θὰ τὸν βρεῖς, καὶ δὲν ὑ­πάρ­χει κα­νεὶς νὰ ρω­τή­σεις: ὁ κό­σμος τρό­μα­ξε, κα­νεὶς δὲν συ­χνά­ζει σ’ ἐ­κεῖ­νο τὸ δά­σος. Καὶ μο­να­χὰ παίρ­νον­τας στὸ κα­τό­πι τὸν ὑ­πό­κω­φο ἦ­χο ἀ­πὸ τὸ κου­δου­νά­κι μιᾶς ἀ­γε­λά­δας θὰ μπο­ρέ­σεις νὰ δι­α­σχί­σεις μὲ δυ­σκο­λί­α τὸ δά­σος, ἀ­κο­λου­θών­τας τὸ μο­νο­πά­τι τῶν ζώ­ων, μιὰ ὥ­ρα τοῦ με­ση­με­ριοῦ, κά­ποι­α βρο­χε­ρὴ ἡ­μέ­ρα. Μό­λις δεῖς τὴ λί­μνη νὰ γυ­α­λί­ζει, πε­λώ­ρια, ἀ­νά­με­σα στοὺς κορ­μοὺς τῶν δέν­δρων, πο­λὺ πρὶν τρέ­ξεις πρὸς τὸ μέ­ρος της, ἤ­δη τὸ γνω­ρί­ζεις: αὐ­τὴ τὴ γω­νί­τσα πά­νω στὴ γῆ θὰ τὴν ἀ­γα­πή­σεις γιὰ ὅ­λη σου τὴ ζω­ή.

Ἡ λί­μνη Σεγ­κντὲν εἶ­ναι στρογ­γυ­λή, σὰν νὰ χα­ρά­χτη­κε μὲ δι­α­βή­τη. Ἂν φω­νά­ξεις ἀ­πὸ τὴ μί­α ὄ­χθη (ὅ­μως δὲν θὰ φω­νά­ξεις, γιὰ νὰ μὴν σὲ πά­ρουν χαμ­πά­ρι), στὴν ἄλ­λη ὄ­χθη θὰ φτά­σει μό­νο μιὰ ἀλ­λοι­ω­μέ­νη ἠ­χώ. Ἡ λί­μνη βρί­σκε­ται μα­κριά. Εἶ­ναι πε­ρι­τρι­γυ­ρι­σμέ­νη ἀ­πὸ τὸ πα­ρό­χθιο δά­σος. Τὸ δά­σος εἶ­ναι ἐ­πί­πε­δο, τὸ ἕ­να δέν­τρο εἶ­ναι δί­πλα στὸ ἄλ­λο, καὶ δὲν ὑ­πάρ­χει χῶ­ρος οὔ­τε γιὰ ἕ­ναν πα­ρα­πα­νί­σιο κορ­μό. Ὅ­ταν φτά­σεις στὸ νε­ρό, βλέ­πεις ὅ­λη τὴν πε­ρι­φέ­ρεια τῆς ἀ­πο­μο­νω­μέ­νης ὄ­χθης: ἀλ­λοῦ ὑ­πάρ­χει μιὰ κί­τρι­νη λω­ρί­δα ἄμ­μου, κά­που ἕ­να γκρί­ζο κα­λα­μά­κι προ­βάλ­λει ἀ­μυ­νό­με­νο, κά­που ἀλ­λοῦ ἁ­πλώ­νε­ται τὸ νε­α­ρὸ γρα­σί­δι. Τὸ νε­ρὸ εἶ­ναι ἐ­πί­πε­δο, λεῖ­ο, δί­χως ρυ­τί­δες, κά­που-κά­που στὴν ὄ­χθη εἶ­ναι κα­λυμ­μέ­νο μὲ νε­ρο­φα­κές, κι ἔ­πει­τα ἕ­να δι­ά­φα­νο ἄ­σπρο – κι ὁ ἄ­σπρος βυ­θός.

Πε­ρί­κλει­στο τὸ νε­ρό. Πε­ρί­κλει­στο καὶ τὸ δά­σος. Ἡ λί­μνη κοι­τά­ει τὸν οὐ­ρα­νό, ὁ οὐ­ρα­νὸς τὴ λί­μνη. Ἀ­κό­μα κι ἂν κά­τι ὑ­πάρ­χει στὴ γῆ ἢ πά­νω ἀ­πὸ τὸ δά­σος, αὐ­τὸ πα­ρα­μέ­νει ἄ­γνω­στο κι ἀ­ό­ρα­το. Ἀ­κό­μα κι ἂν κά­τι ὑ­πάρ­χει, ἐ­δῶ εἶ­ναι ἄ­χρη­στο καὶ πε­ριτ­τό.

Νὰ μπο­ροῦ­σε κα­νεὶς νὰ ἐγ­κα­τα­στα­θεῖ ἐ­δῶ γιὰ πάν­τα… Ἐ­δῶ ἡ ψυ­χή, σὰν τὸν ἀ­έ­ρα ποὺ τρε­μί­ζει, θὰ ρυ­ά­κι­ζε ἀ­νά­με­σα στὸ νε­ρὸ καὶ στὸν οὐ­ρα­νό, κι οἱ σκέ­ψεις θὰ κυ­λοῦ­σαν κα­θά­ρι­ες καὶ βα­θει­ές.

Ὅ­μως ἀ­πα­γο­ρεύ­ε­ται. Ὁ θη­ρι­ώ­δης πρίγ­κι­πας, ὁ ἀλ­λή­θω­ρος κα­κοῦρ­γος, κα­τέ­λα­βε μὲ τὴ βί­α τὴ λί­μνη: νά ἡ ντά­τσα του, νά καὶ τὸ μέ­ρος ὅ­που κο­λυμ­πά­ει. Τὰ παι­διά του ψα­ρεύ­ουν καὶ πυ­ρο­βο­λοῦν πά­πι­ες μέ­σα ἀ­πὸ τὴ βάρ­κα. Στὴν ἀρ­χὴ ἐμ­φα­νί­ζε­ται λί­γος γα­λά­ζιος κα­πνὸς πά­νω ἀ­πὸ τὴ λί­μνη, κι ἔ­πει­τα ἀ­πὸ λί­γο ἀ­κοῦς τὴν του­φε­κιά.

Ἐ­κεῖ, πί­σω ἀ­πὸ τὰ δά­ση, καμ­που­ριά­ζει καὶ σέρ­νε­ται ὅ­λη ἡ γύ­ρω πε­ρι­ο­χή. Ἐ­νῶ ἐ­δῶ, γιὰ νὰ μὴν τοὺς ἐ­νο­χλή­σει κα­νείς, οἱ δρό­μοι εἶ­ναι κλει­στοί, ἐ­δῶ οἱ ὑ­πο­τα­κτι­κοί τους ψα­ρεύ­ουν καὶ κυ­νη­γοῦν τὰ θη­ρά­μα­τα ἀ­πο­κλει­στι­κὰ γι’ αὐ­τούς. Ἰ­δοὺ καὶ τὰ ἴ­χνη: κά­ποι­ος ἑ­τοί­μα­ζε φω­τιά, κι αὐ­τοὶ τὴν ἔ­σβη­σαν μὲ τὴν πρώ­τη καὶ τὸν ἔ­δι­ω­ξαν.

Ἔ­ρη­μη λί­μνη. Λί­μνη ἀ­γα­πη­μέ­νη.

Πα­τρί­δα…

 

 

 

https://bonsaistoriesflashfiction.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/aleksander-solzenitsin-i-limni-segknten/ (Source)

The Gulf of Marseilles Seen from L’Estaque by Paul Cézanne 

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Cézanne enthused about the fishing village of L’Estaque to Pissarro in 1876: «It is like a playing card. Red roofs over the blue sea. . . . The sun is so terrific here that it seems to me as if the objects were silhouetted not only in black and white, but in blue, red, brown, and violet.» Cézanne painted some twenty views of L’Estaque over the next decade, a dozen of them facing toward or across the gulf of Marseilles. In the distance of this painting, atop the hill to the right of the jetty, the towers of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde stand watch over the city of Marseilles.

Σήμερα…

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Προσπαθούν να τον προλάβουν, μα ο ήλιος τους ξεφεύγει. Στοχασμοί της παραλίας, η ξεκούραση του νου.

Mona Hatoum: Over my Dead Body, 2005

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In this work a billboard shows Hatoum’s face in profile, as she stares down a toy soldier perched on her nose. A sense of humor enlivens this photograph, as Hatoum’s haughty stare makes oppression and war seem tiny, even laughable. She stares at the soldier the way one might look at an annoying fly. The image steeped in contradictions, expressing both a towering strength of conviction and an ironic vulnerability in relations between men and women, civilian and soldier. Hatoum attempts to interpose her own body as a metaphor for the condition of people who suffered because of war. The inspiration comes from the realm of politics, but the artist chose a more indirect, implicit way of expressing it.