What Men Live by

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Summary
What Men Live By
Leo Tolstoy

What Men Live By is a story about a shoemaker named Simon. He did not have house or any land of his own. He earned his living by work to feed his wife and children. They had to share a sheepskin coat because he only had enough money to spend on food. Now he needed a new one because his only coat was worn out. He had money saved for his wife and he was supposed to get some from his customers. When he went to collect the money, no one had it for him and he only managed to get a small amount of money and he spent it on drinks. On his way home, he saw a man sitting naked on a rock. He gave his coat to him and brought him home. When his wife saw that he was drunk and also brought home a stranger, she was really mad. Then she felt bad for the man and gave him food.

The next morning, Simon told him to identify himself and he said his name was Michael. He knew the trade of shoe-making very fast. Within a year, his fame spread far and wide and Simon became rich. One day, a man came with a piece of leather that he wanted a long pair of boots made out of. Michael started working and instead of making boots, he made a pair of soft slippers. Simon was amazed. But the man who ordered the boots died and his mistress wanted soft slippers instead.

A couple years passed by when one day a lady came to Simon’s place with 2 young girls, one was cripple. The woman went on to explain that they were not her children, but she takes care of them because their mother died. When the mom and the girls left, Michael spoke about himself saying that now God has forgiven him. He was actually an angel of God, who was sent to earth to get the soul of the mother of those girls. Michael who was a good angel learned the answers to the 3 questions God sent him to answer- what dwells in men? What is given to man? What do men live by? He learned from Simon’s wife that love dwells in man. He made the slippers because he knew that the man would not live...
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