Tolstoi's Ideal of the True Life

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Tolstoi's Ideal of the True Life

By Bolton Hall

Under the cold, dry earth grew a little root, but it was the root of a great Tree, and round the Tree all the plain, was bare.

The root pushed up toward the light and heat, whilst itsfellows pushed down towards the water underneath.

When the root came to the light, it burst into a shoot and put out a green top, and the shoot said, "All the plain is bare, and I am far from the tree; I can do nothing." Nevertheless it pushed upwards.

A drove of cattle passed by and trampled down the little top, and it said, "This is death, and I have accomplished nothing."

Nevertheless, the root drew strength from the great Tree, and whilst it grew thicker and stronger it fed the great Tree, and the root blossomed again into a shoot.

At last it pushed high up, and then it saw many shoots peeping from the ground about the Tree of Love.

And some of them withered away and moldered on the earth, but some waxed strong and spread, and all the plain was covered by the branches of Love.

The root is Life, the light is Truth—and we are the; shoots, my Brothers.



  • Bolton Hall, “Tolstoi’s Ideal of the True Life,” The Outlook 54, no. 24 (December 12, 1896): 1099.