Posted in History & Literature

Zodiac: Leo

Leo is the Zodiac sign for those born between July 23 and August 22. The symbol for Leo is a ferocious lion.

The model for Leo is the Nemean Lion, killed by Hercules during one of his twelve labours. The Nemean Lion was a frightening beast with claws sharper than any sword and able to cut through any armour, with a golden hide that could not be pierced by any weapon. With its ultimate offence and defence, no warrior could defeat the Lion and it continued to wreak havoc in Nemea. As stated in the legend of Cancer, Hercules had to complete twelve challenges for his sins, the Hydra being the second. The first labour was to kill the Nemean Lion. Not knowing that the Lion had invincible leather, Hercules shot many arrows at it with no effect. The Lion laughed at his vain attempt and pounced, ready to shred him with his claws. Hercules understood that arrows and swords were no use, so he pulled out his club and smashed the Lion’s head with full force. The Lion was completely stunned by the impact and Hercules took this opportunity to strangle it with his bare hands. After a few minutes, the Lion collapsed and Hercules came out as the victor. He tried to take the hide by cutting it with his knife, but the knife did not even make a scratch. After thinking about it, he took the claws of the Lion and found that this could cut through the hide. With the golden hide, Hercules made the toughest armour that would protect him from much harm in the future. The corpse of the Lion was lifted to the heavens and turned into a constellation.

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Posted in History & Literature


The following is the synopsis of a short story called How Much Land Does a Man Need?, written by the famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy.

A peasant man called Pahom was complaining of how he did not possess enough land to satisfy him. He lamented: “If I had plenty of land, I should not fear the Devil himself”. The Devil, hiding behind the stove and listening to this, decided to have a tussle with Pahom to teach him a lesson.

The next day, a lady in the village sold her estate, which was bought up by the peasants. Pahom too tried to buy as much land as possible and by utilising the land he pays off his debts and he leads a happier life. But despite having his wish granted, he was still not satisfied and desired more land. His obsession with his land began to cause troubles with his neighbours and he eventually moved to a larger area of land at another village.

However, he was annoyed that he was growing crop on rented land and wanted more land for himself. He found out that the Bashkirs in the village were simple-minded people with large amounts of land. Pahom decided to exploit the Bashkirs and went to them to negotiate the lowest price possible for their land. The Bashkirs counteroffered with a very strange deal: for a thousand rubles, they would let Pahom take a spade to mark out an area of land and claim it for himself. The only condition was that he had to come back to where he started to close the loop by sunset. Pahom joyfully took up the offer, thinking how stupid these people were.

That night, Pahom had a surreal dream where he saw himself lying at the feet of the Devil. The Devil was laughing maniacally over Pahom’s cold, dead body. After jerking awake from this nightmare, Pahom sets out to start marking out as much land as possible. He decides to travel as far as he can to maximise his gain. However, he forgets to take into account the time needed to come back to where he started and hurries back. Although he manages to close the loop by sunset, the exhaustion causes him to drop dead on the spot. He is buried in a hole measuring 6 feet long.

How much more land does a man need than a place where he can rest in peace?