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This tale is written by one who, in my first school in 1862, was my favourite pupil. He was then the dear twelve-year-old Vaska Morozof[1]

As what then, specially touched me in the lad was his sensitiveness to all that is good, his depth of feeling, and his constant sinerity and truthfulness - so now I am particularly pleased with those same features in this simple story; which in its sincerity presents such a striking contrast to thte majority of literary productions.

You feel that here nothing is invented or made up, but th thing is told just as it really happened: a bit of life is caught, real Russian life with its sorrowful, dismal, precious and touching features.

I think I am not prejudiced by my attachment to the author, and that other readers will like the story as much as I do.

Leo Tolstoy
31 July, 1908.


  1. , and is now the respected sixty-year-old Vasily Stepanovitch Morozof.