Leo Tolstoy

The Godson

A son was born to a poor peasant. He was glad and went to his neighbor to ask him to stand godfather to the boy. The neighbor refused — he did not like standing godfather to a poor man’s child. The peasant asked another neighbor, but he too refused, and after that the poor father […]

A Grain As Big As A Hen’s Egg

One day some children found, in a ravine, a thing shaped like a grain of corn, with a groove down the middle, but as large as a hen’s egg. A traveler passing by saw the thing, bought it from the children for a penny, and taking it to town sold it to the King as […]

Esarhaddon, King of Assyria

The Assyrian King, Esarhaddon, had conquered the kingdom of King Lailie, had destroyed and burnt the towns, taken all the inhabitants captive to his own country, slaughtered the warriors, beheaded some chieftains and impaled or flayed others, and had confined King Lailie himself in a cage. As he lay on his bed one night, King […]

The Repentant Sinner

There was once a man who lived for seventy years in the world, and lived in sin all that time. He fell ill but even then did not repent. Only at the last moment, as he was dying, he wept and said: ‘Lord! forgive me, as Thou forgavest the thief upon the cross.’ And as […]

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