How Much Land Does a Man Need?

by

Leo Tolstoy

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The leader of the Bashkirs and implied to be the Devil in disguise. The Bashkirs are unable to give Pakhom any amount of land without the elder’s permission, and he is the only Bashkir who can speak Russian. The Bashkir elder offers Pakhom as much land as he can circumnavigate in one day for a set price of one thousand roubles. He further insists that Pakhom carry a spade with him, marking his perimeter as he goes. The Bashkir elder transforms into the Devil in Pakhom’s strange dream and encourages Pakhom’s greed in the real world, cheering him on until he falls to his death.

The Bashkir Elder Quotes in How Much Land Does a Man Need?

The How Much Land Does a Man Need? quotes below are all either spoken by The Bashkir Elder or refer to The Bashkir Elder. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of How Much Land Does a Man Need? published in 1994.
Chapter 5 Quotes

Then they conferred again and started arguing about something. Pakhom asked what it was and the interpreter told him, “Some of them are saying they should first consult the elder about the land. They can't do anything without his permission, but some of the others say it's not necessary.”

Related Characters: Pakhom, The Bashkir Elder, The Bashkirs
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

“Thank you for your kind words. Yes, you do have a great deal of land, but I need only a little. However, I would like to be sure which will be mine, so couldn't it be measured and made over to me by some sort of contract? Our lives are in God's hands and although you good people are willing to give me the land now, it's possible your children might want it back again.”

Related Characters: Pakhom (speaker), The Bashkir Elder
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Bashkir Elder Character Timeline in How Much Land Does a Man Need?

The timeline below shows where the character The Bashkir Elder appears in How Much Land Does a Man Need?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
...to argue. According to custom, the Bashkirs can do nothing without the consent of the elder Bashkir ; however, many of the Bashkirs claim his consent is not necessary. (full context)
Chapter 6
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
God, the Devil, and Free Will Theme Icon
While the Bashkirs continue to argue, the elder Bashkir suddenly appears. They all stand at attention as he enters, and Pakhom presents him with... (full context)
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
God, the Devil, and Free Will Theme Icon
The elder Bashkir confirms that Pakhom may have his pick of as much land as he wants, yet... (full context)
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
The elder Bashkir informs Pakhom that there is a set rate for their land, one thousand roubles per... (full context)
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
Death and Pride Theme Icon
The elder Bashkir informs Pakhom that he must return to his starting point by sunset, or he will... (full context)
Chapter 7
Class and Society Theme Icon
...awake in his tent and hears the Bashkirs laughing. He goes outside and sees the Bashkir elder , holding his side and laughing hysterically. On closer inspection, Pakhom realizes that it is... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
Death and Pride Theme Icon
...survey the land. Beautiful farmland stretches as far as the eye can see, and the elder Bashkir confirms that Pakhom may have as much of it as he likes. The elder marks... (full context)
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
...considerably shorter and lopsided to walk the ten miles back to the Bashkirs and the elder Bashkir ’s fox-fur cap.  (full context)
Chapter 9
The Corrupting Nature of Greed Theme Icon
God, the Devil, and Free Will Theme Icon
Death and Pride Theme Icon
At the top of the hill, the elder Bashkir sits by his fox-fur cap, laughing. Suddenly, Pakhom remembers his strange dream from the night... (full context)