What’s the Use?

Tolstoi tells the Russian fable of a promise being made by the king to give to a runner all the land around which he could run from sunup until sundown. At the first peep of day he started. He ran until noon, then beyond he saw a beautiful lake and a deep forest. Thought he, “I must have the lake and the forest in my possession,” so on and on he ran. The sun having started down the western sky, he hurriedly completed the circle, back to the golden stake from which he started. His friends gathered to see him come in. Yonder he comes in the distance! Rapidly the sun is sinking from sight. Amidst the cheers of the people, breathlessly, he makes the last step and taps the golden stake just as the sun goes out of sight. And then he drops dead. He has gained it all, but lost his life. What’s the use?

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