“Death, the inevitable end of everything, confronted him for the first time with irresistible force. And that Death which was present in this dear brother (who, waking up, moaned and by habit called indiscriminately on God and on the devil) was not so far away as it hitherto seemed to be. It was within himself to- he felt it. If not today, then tomorrow or thirty years hence, was it not all the same? But what that inevitable Death was, he not only did not know, not only had never considered, but could not and dared not consider.”

Leo Tolstoy

“He remembered his mother's love for him, and his family's, and his friends', and the enemy's intention to kill him seemed impossible.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six.”

Leo Tolstoy

“The feelings resembled memories; but memories of what? Apparently one can remember things that have never happened.”

Leo Tolstoy

“What am I coming for?" he repeated, looking straight into her eyes. "You know that I have come to be where you are," he said; "I can't help it.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Never, never marry, my friend. Here’s my advice to you: don’t marry until you can tell yourself that you’ve done all you could, and until you’ve stopped loving the woman you’ve chosen, until you see her clearly, otherwise you’ll be cruelly and irremediably mistaken. Marry when you’re old and good for nothing...Otherwise all that’s good and lofty in you will be lost.”

Leo Tolstoy

“And the candle by the light of which she had been reading that book filled with anxieties, deceptions, grief and evil, flared up brighter than ever, lit up for her all that had once been darkness, sputtered, grew dim and went out for ever.”

Leo Tolstoy

“Each man lives for himself, uses his freedom to achieve his personal goals, and feels with his whole being that right now he can or cannot do such-and-such an action; but as soon as he does it, this action, committed at a certain moment in time, becomes irreversible, and makes itself the property of history, in which is has not a free but a predestined significance. ”

Leo Tolstoy

“There are men who call land theirs, yet have never set eyes on that land and have never trodden it. There are men who call other men theirs, but yet have never set eyes on the other men, and their sole relation to those other men consists of doing them evil. ”

Leo Tolstoy

“What are these deaths and revivals? It is clear that I do not live whenever I lose my faith in the existence of God, and I would have killed myself long ago if I did not have some vague hope of finding God. I truly live only whenever I am conscious of him and seek him. "What, then, do I seek?" a voice cried out within me. "He is there, the one without whom there could be no life." To know God and to liVe come to one and the same thing. God is life.”

Leo Tolstoy

“And the light by which she had read the book filled with troubles, falsehoods, sorrow, and evil, flared up more brightly than ever before, lighted up for her all that had been in darkness, flickered, began to grow dim, and was quenched forever.”

Leo Tolstoy

“I ask one thing: I ask the right to hope and suffer as I do now."

Leo Tolstoy

“Man must not check reason by tradition, but contrariwise, must check tradition by reason.”

Leo Tolstoy

“it's much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it.”

Leo Tolstoy

“There is an old Eastern fable about a traveler who is taken unawares on the steppes by a ferocious wild animal. In order to escape the beast the traveler hides in an empty well, but at the bottom of the well he sees a dragon with its jaws open, ready to devour him. The poor fellow does not dare to climb out because he is afraid of being eaten by the rapacious beast, neither does he dare drop to the bottom of the well for fear of being eaten by the dragon. So he seizes hold of a branch of a bush that is growing in the crevices of the well and clings on to it. His arms grow weak and he knows that he will soon have to resign himself to the death that awaits him on either side. Yet he still clings on, and while he is holding on to the branch he looks around and sees that two mice, one black and one white, are steadily working their way round the bush he is hanging from, gnawing away at it. Sooner or later they will eat through it and the branch will snap, and he will fall into the jaws of the dragon. The traveler sees this and knows that he will inevitably perish. But while he is still hanging there he sees some drops of honey on the leaves of the bush, stretches out his tongue and licks them. In the same way I am clinging to the tree of life, knowing full well that the dragon of death inevitably awaits me, ready to tear me to pieces, and I cannot understand how I have fallen into this torment. And Itry licking the honey that once consoled me, but it no longer gives me pleasure. The white mouse and the black mouse – day and night – are gnawing at the branch from which I am hanging. I can see the dragon clearly and the honey no longer tastes sweet. I can see only one thing; the inescapable dragon and the mice, and I cannot tear my eyes away from them. And this is no fable but the truth, the truth that is irrefutable and intelligible to everyone.

Leo Tolstoy


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