Leo Tolstoy is known for his epic work War and Peace. But another one of his writings is even more powerful. It is titled How Much Land Does a Man Need?, and tells the story of a farmer named Pahom. In that writing, Tolstoy tells how Pahom hears that a chief in a nearby country is selling land at cheap prices. Seeing it as a grand opportunity, Pahom travels to meet the chief. When he talks with the chief, he finds out that the offer is true. And better than true. He can buy as much land as he wants for a thousand rubles. The catch is that he has to walk off the land he wants by sundown. If he fails the chief will keep the money and he will not get the land.
That night Pahom goes to sleep thinking his investment of a thousand rubles will soon produce hundreds of thousands of rubles when the crops of his new land are sold at market. But during the night Pahom has a disturbing dream in which the chief stands outside his tent laughing. As the dream goes on though, Pahom realizes that it is not the chief standing outside his tent, but Satan. And Satan is laughing at his ridiculous gamble. When he wakes up, Pahom dismisses the dream as nervousness. Since he believes he can walk 35 miles by sunset, he sets off. By mid morning, he completes the first leg of his journey, and uses a shovel to mark the far corner of his new land. By noon he completes another leg of his journey, and uses the shovel to mark the second far corner of his new land. And by late afternoon, he completes a third leg of his journey, and uses the shovel to mark a third corner of his new land. But the land isn’t his just yet.