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Leo Tolstoy

The way home led across black-earth fields that had just been ploughed up… The land was well tilled and nowhere was there a blade of grass or any kind of plant to be seen, it was all black… In front of me to the right of the road I saw some kind of little clump, and drawing nearer I found it was the same kind of thistle («tatarin») as that which I had vainly plucked and thrown away… Evidently a cartwheel had passed over the plant but it has risen again, and that was why, though erect, it stood twisted to one side, as if a piece of its body had been torn from it, its bowels drawn out, and arm torn off, and one of its eyes plucked out. Yet it stood firm and did not surrender to man who had destroyed all its brothers around it. “What vitality!” I thought. “Man conquered everything and destroyed millions of plants, yet this one won’t submit.” Leo Tolstoy. This passage from “Hadji Murad” by Leo Tolstoy is translated by Loise and Aylmer Moude.