I was reminded of Pahom.
Tolstoy’s story came to mind when I heard a general—an Indonesian who wants to become president of Indonesia—admit that the 340 hectares of land he owns is larger than the principality of Luxembourg, and four times larger than the Republic of Singapore.
In the Russian tale, How Much Land does a Man Need? the peasant Pahom wants to be like that. He overhears his wife saying, “Though a peasant’s life is not a fat one,...