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Stories of Leo Tolstoy
LONDON ∙ NEW YORK ∙ TORONTO ∙ SAO PAULO ∙ MOSCOW
PARIS ∙ MADRID ∙ BERLIN ∙ ROME ∙ MEXICO CITY ∙ MUMBAI ∙ SEOUL ∙ DOHA
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Published by Sovereign Classic
First published in 2017
Copyright © 2017 Sovereign
All Rights Reserved.
LITTLE GIRLS WISER THAN MEN
AFTER BERNARDIN DE SENT-PIERRE
There once lived, in the Government of Oufá a Bashkír named Ilyas. His father, who died a year after he had found his son a wife, did not leave him much property. Ilyas then had only seven mares, two cows, and about a score of sheep. He was a good manager, however, and soon began to acquire more. He and his wife worked from morn till night; rising earlier than others and going later to bed; and his possessions increased year by year. Living in this way, Ilyas little by little acquired great wealth. At the end of thirty-five years he had 200 horses, 150 head of cattle, and 1,200 sheep. Hired laborers tended his flocks and herds, and hired women milked his mares and cows, and made kumiss, butter and cheese. Ilyas had abundance of everything, and every one in the district envied him. They said of him:
‘Ilyas is a fortunate man: he has plenty of everything. This world must be a pleasant place for him.’
People of position heard of Ilyas and sought his acquaintance. Visitors came to him from afar; and he welcomed every one, and gave them food and drink. Whoever might come, there was always kumiss, tea, sherbet, and mutton to set before them. Whenever visitors arrived a sheep would be killed, or sometimes two; and if many guests came he would even slaughter a mare for them.
Ilyas had three children: two sons and a daughter; and he married them all off. While he was poor, his sons worked with him, and looked after the flocks and herds themselves; but when he grew rich they got spoiled and one of them took to drink. The eldest was killed in a brawl; and the younger, who had married a self-willed woman, ceased to obey his father, and they could not live together any more.