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What else can you do?

What else can you do?

By Mohandas YorkPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
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On a laughing occasion, someone said in a hurry to tease Tolstoy: you can write novels but what else?

Everyone in the room felt that the joke had gone too far and that it was untrue. Tolstoy, who was in his late sixties, did not reply to his friend's taunts. He went home without a word and got busy. His "workshop" was next to his study. There was a large wooden table with hammers, pliers, hacksaws, files, and the aprons he had worn when he worked on the walls... In response to his friend's ridicule, he made a pair of beautiful and strong high ox skin boots and solemnly gave them to his first son-in-law Su Huojing.

Su Hojing, who was not willing to wear such a precious gift on his feet, put the boots on the bookshelf. Twelve volumes of Tolstoy's Works had been published, and he labeled the boots "Volume 13." The move immediately became a story in the cultural circle. Toon laughed and said, "That's my favorite volume."

Toon made another pair of half-tall boots and gave them to his friend, the poet Fett. Feit had an idea and immediately gave Tolstoy six roubles and a receipt: "Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace, ordered from me a pair of leather boots, thick soles, low heels, and cylinders. On January 8 of this year, he sent them to my house, for which I paid him 6 roubles. I will be wearing them from the next day, which shows how well they are made. Empty words without proof, the word as proof. January 15th, 1885." It was signed and stamped by Fett.

Craft is a sign of the spirit, behavior reflects a person's mental outlook. Modern young people hate manual labor and refuse to learn and master a trade. Whether they like reading or not, those who are good at it and those who are bad at it all flock to the university, which is exactly what Chekhov said: "Universities cultivate all kinds of abilities, including stupidity."

Tolstoy, on the other hand, is known as "the pride of all mankind". His complete works published in 90 volumes are "every writer must read encyclopedia", "the world school of literature and art", and his spirit of rich, profound, and broad, for the world's admiration. Moreover, it is true to be born into a noble, can be a natural ground to make modern people envy extremely "spiritual noble". And it was this sense of nobility that Torun hated most.

Lenin declared that "there is no real peasant in the count's previous literature". He liberated the serfs in his manor four years before the abolition of serfdom, and he always wanted to transfer his land to the peasants, so that his works could be freely published without payment by anyone who wanted to publish them. When he was 82 years old, he ran away from home and wanted to become a farmer, living on his own and spending the rest of his years among ordinary laborers.

He believed until his death: "Work, only in work can contain true happiness."

Once when Toon passed by the dock, he was asked to carry boxes by an expensive lady as a porter. He was rewarded with five kopecks for carrying the box for the lady. Then someone on the dock recognized Tolstoy. His beard and the "Tolstoy shirt" of his design were easy to recognize. So many people gathered around to say hello to him, and the lady looked pale and wanted to get back the 5 kopecks that made her ashamed, but Tolstoy refused: "This is my labor, I value this money, I don't care how much."

Great spirit leads to great labor, and strong labor breeds strong spirit, just as a diamond grinds a diamond. This is a great writer Tolstoy, but with his life to prove: manual labor is noble and beneficial. Despising manual labor and craft, only shows the spirit of the weak, empty mind.

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Mohandas York

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