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Pahom is a master of a lower class house. One day he listens in on a conversation between two sisters about land and power. He decides that if he has enough land he won't fear the devil himself. Upon hearing this, the devil decides to take on that challenge from Pahom.
When a small landowner sells her land, Pahom buys forty acres of farmland and cultivates crop for a good profit.
The peasants begin to resent Pahom, and take to letting their cattle graze on his lands. Pahom eventually gets upset, and while talking with a peasant, he learns about land on the Volga rich with virgin soil. So he sells his land and moves to the Volga.
Pahom begins to farm on the Volga and has countless good harvests and grows in wealth. But a travelling merchant tells him of good land belonging to the nomads. Pahom leaves his wife to buy this land.
Pahom meets with the leader of the Bashkirs, the nomadic people in possession of the fertile land. Pahom can have as much land as he can map out on foot. But he keeps getting greedy and maps out more land than his body can run.
Pahom finally gets back to the spot he mapped out before sunset, which is what the rule stated. If Pahom can't get back before sunset, he will lose one thousand rubles. But when he gets back before sunset, he dies.
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