Fiction > Harvard Classics > Leo Tolstoy > Ivan the Fool > Chapter VIII
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Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910).  Ivan the Fool.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction.  1917.
  
Chapter VIII
  
IVAN remained on the farm and worked to support his father, mother, and dumb sister. Once it happened that the old dog, which had grown up on the farm, was taken sick, when Ivan thought he was dying, and, taking pity on the animal, placed some bread in his hat and carried it to him.   1
  It happened that when he turned out the bread the root which the little devil had given him fell out also. The old dog swallowed it with the bread and was almost instantly cured, when he jumped up and began to wag his tail as an expression of joy. Ivan’s father and mother, seeing the dog cured so quickly, asked by what means he had performed such a miracle.   2
  Ivan replied: “I have some roots which would cure any disease, and the dog swallowed one of them.”   3
  It happened about that time that the Czar’s daughter became ill, and her father had it announced in every city, town, and village that whosoever would cure her would be richly rewarded; and if the lucky person should prove to be a single man he would give her in marriage to him.   4
  This announcement, of course, appeared in Ivan’s village.   5
  Ivan’s father and mother called him and said: “If you have any of those wonderful roots, go and cure the Czar’s daughter. You will be much happier for having performed such a kind act—indeed, you will be made happy for all your after life.”   6
  “Very well,” said Ivan; and he immediately made ready for the journey. As he reached the porch on his way out he saw a poor woman standing directly in his path and holding a broken arm. The woman accosted him, saying: “I was told that you could cure me, and will you not please do so, as I am powerless to do anything for myself?”   7
  Ivan replied: “Very well, my poor woman; I will relieve you if I can.”   8
  He produced a root which he handed to the poor woman and told her to swallow it.   9
  She did as Ivan told her and was instantly cured, and went away rejoicing that she had recovered the use of her arm.  10
  Ivan’s father and mother came out to wish him good luck on his journey, and to them he told the story of the poor woman, saying that he had given her his last root. On hearing this his parents were much distressed, as they now believed him to be without the means of curing the Czar’s daughter, and began to scold him.  11
  “You had pity for a beggar and gave no thought to the Czar’s daughter,” they said.  12
  “I have pity for the Czar’s daughter also,” replied Ivan, after which he harnessed his horse to his wagon and took his seat ready for his departure; whereupon his parents said: “Where are you going, you fool—to cure the Czar’s daughter, and without anything to do it with?”  13
  “Very well,” replied Ivan, as he drove away.  14
  In due time he arrived at the palace, and the moment he appeared on the balcony the Czar’s daughter was cured. The Czar was overjoyed and ordered Ivan to be brought into his presence. He dressed him in the richest robes and addressed him as his son-in-law. Ivan was married to the Czarevna, and, the Czar dying soon after, Ivan became ruler. Thus the three brothers became rulers in different kingdoms.  15

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