Tatiana Tolstaya – Remembering Leo Tolstoy

In an investigation, a Parisian newspaper asked the question: what sign makes us recognize the coming of old age ?  Someone replied: old age comes when your memories overwhelm you.

velho-tolstoi

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy

 For some time I have felt this very intense. In my moments of loneliness, I see fragments from my past. I review a certain scene, think I hear voices… These memories are often related to my father, Leo Tolstoy, who was everything  I had dearest and brighter in my life.

I can not always relate them to events that preceded or followed them, nor to fix them at a certain date. But I see the episode as if it had happened yesterday. I write down these  “memory flashes” as they emerge.

Dad Gets a Baksheesh

From Moscow to Iasnaia Poliana is about 200 km and sometimes my father was walking this way. With the bag in his back, he mingled among the pilgrims he was interested in, but for whom he has been just a simple traveler. He was making this trip in five days. On the way, he stopped eating and sleeping in a wooden house or at a country inn. When he approached a train station, he went to eat in the waiting room of the third class.

In one of these stops, walking on the platform where a train was ready to leave, he heard someone call him.

Tolstoy-Basinsky-big

“Hey, old man, old man !”, a woman yelled from the train window. “Do you want to go to the woman’s toilet and bring me the bag that I left there ? But go quickly, because the train leaves soon.”

My dad ran to the women’s toilet where he was lucky to find the bag, and then gave it to the lady.

“Thank you very much,” said the lady, and gave him a large bronze coin.

“Do you know who you gave those five kopecks ?”, asked her a traveler who recognized the dusty pilgrim as being the author of the book War and Peace. “To Leo Tolstoy !”

“God, what  have I done ! Lev Nikolayevich, Lev Nikolayevich ! Please forgive me and give me back the five kopecks I gave you out of my stupidity .”

“Why ?”, my dad answered. You didn’t do anything wrong. The five kopecks I won honestly. I keep them…”

The train moved into motion, carrying with it the lady who continued to apologize, bagging Tolstoy to give her the coin back.

Tolstoy, with a smile, was watching the train moving away.

from Tatiana Tolstaya, Avec Leon Tolstoi. Souvenirs

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The Impossible Dream

dream

To dream the impossible dream,

To fight the unbeatable foe,

To bear with unbearable sorrow,

To run where the brave dare not go,

 

To right the unrightable wrong

To love the unchaste from afar,

To try when your arms are too weary

To reach the unreachable star.

 

This is my quest

To follow that star

No matter how hopeless

No matter how far,

 

To fight for the right

Without wasting or pause

To be willing to aid and to help

For that heavenly cause

And I know if I only be true

To this glorious west

That my heart will be peaceful and calm

When I’m laid to my rest,

 

And the world will be better for this

That one man, scorned and covered with scars,

Still strove with his last ounce of courage

To fight the unbeatable foe,

To reach the unreachable star.

don_quixote Man of La Mancha

musical by Dale Wasserman

#brave, #dare, #fight, #foe, #hopeless, #impssible-dream, #love, #man-of-la-mancha, #quest, #right, #sorrow, #star, #wrong