The Works of Leo Tolstoi. One Volume Edition. Roslyn, NY: Black's
Readers Service Co., 1928, pages 4-18.
 CHAPTER VII: THE BOOTS
Then Simon said to Michael: "Well, we have taken the work, but we
must see we don't get into trouble over it. The leather is dear, and the
gentleman hot-tempered. We must make no mistakes. C6me, your eye is truer
and your hands have become nimbler than mine, so you take this measure
and cut out' the boots. I will finish off the sewing of the vamps."
Michael did as he was told. He took the leather, spread it out on the
table, folded it in two, took a. knife and began to cut out.
Matryona came and watched him cutting, and was surprised to see how
he was doing it. Matryona was accustomed to seeing boots made, and she
looked and saw that Michael was not cutting the leather for boots, but
was cutting it round.
She wished to say something, but she thought to herself: "Perhaps I
do not understand how gentlemen's boots should be made. I suppose Michael
knows more about it--and I won't interfere."
When Michael had cut up the leather, he took a thread and began to
sew not with two ends, as boots are sewn, but with a single end, as for
Again Matryona wondered, but again she did not interfere. Michael sewed
on steadily till noon. Then Simon rose for dinner, looked around, and saw
that Michael had made slippers out of the gentleman's leather.
"Ah!" groaned Simon, and thought, "How is it that Michael, who has
been with me a whole year and never made a mistake before, should do such
a dreadful thing? The gentleman ordered him boots, welted, with whole fronts,
and Michael has made soft slippers with single soles, and has wasted the
leather. What am I to say to the gentleman? I can never replace leather
such as this."
And he said to Michael, "What are you doing, friend? You have ruined
me! You know the gentleman ordered high boots, but see what you have made!"
Hardly had he begun to rebuke Michael, when "rat-tat" went the iron
ring that hung at the door. Someone  was knocking. They looked out
of the window; a man had come on horseback, and was fastening his horse.
They opened the door, and the servant who been with the gentleman came
"Good day," said he.
"Good day," replied Simon. "What we do for you?"
"My mistress has sent me about the boots."
"What about the boots?"
"Why, my master no longer needs them."
"Is it possible?"
"He did not live to get home after leaving you, but died in the carriage.
When we reached home and the servants came to help him alight, he rolled
over a sack. He was dead already, and so stiff that he could hardly be
got out the carriage. My mistress sent me here, saying: 'Tell the bootmaker
that gentleman who ordered boots of him and left the leather for them no
longer needs the boots, but that he must make soft slippers for the corpse.Wait
till they are ready, and bring them back with you.' That is I have come."
Michael gathered up the remnants of leather; rolled them up, took the
soft slippers he had made, slapped them together, wiped them down with
his apron, and handed them and the roll of leather to the servant, who
took them said: "Good-bye, masters, and good day to you!"