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Peasant Tales of Russia

by V.I. Nemirovitch-Dantchenko

Nothing could be more Russian than either subject or treatment. One is a story of life in the mines, depicting the tragedy, the misery, and the mental immaturity of the men who live underground and are largely doomed to die there; another is the gloomy story of a woman who becomes a nun because of a misunderstanding in love, only to find that it was all a mistake after all; the third is a story of warm humanity, centering on the lonely soldier's love of home and family; and the last is the powerful tale of an escaped convict, who finds there is really a streak of kindliness in life through the agency of a waif thrown upon his mercy and upon the mercies of the Siberian wilds, because of the death of her outcast mother. The Slavic métier for tragedy even here is fulfilled, however, with the child's innocent betrayal of her protector and his consequent death.

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