Will anyone heed our advice and listen to our coun
sels? One man may be a volost chief, another a biy. If
they had had the least desire to become wise and learn
sense, would they have sought such posts?
consider themselves quite clever enough and seek power
so as to teach and give guidance to others, as if they them
selves had attained the heights of perfection and had noth
ing further to do but instruct others. Are they the kind who
Would have the inclination or spare the time to listen to us?
Their minds are filled with other concerns: not to offend
their superiors inadvertently: not to provoke the anger of a
thief, not to cause trouble and confusion among the people,
and not to land on the losing end, but to gain some person
al advantage. Besides, they must be always helping some
body, getting someone out of trouble. They are always too
The rich? They want for nothing. Be it only for a day,
they have wealth and they think they possess the treasures
of well-nigh half the world, and they can pay in livestock
for whatever they lack. They set their sights high and their
ambitions even higher. Honour, conscience and sincerity
are по dearer to them than their herds. They are certain that
if they own livestock they will be able to bribe even the
Most High. Their herds take the place of everything else to
them their native land, people, religion, family and learn
ing. Why then should they listen to other people’s advice?
Some fellow might be inclined to lend an ear, but he has no
time for that. He must feed and water his livestock, sell it
at a premium, protect it from thieves and wolves, shelter it
from the cold, and find someone to do these chores. No,
this man is too busy to heed good counsel. When he has
seen to all this, he will be boasting and bragging, so he has
по time left for anything else.
As for thieves and scoundrels, they obviously Would
not listen anyway.
The poor, meek as sheep, are only concerned about
getting their daily bread. What good is advice, wisdom and
learning to them when even the rich do not want it? Leave
us alone, speak to those who are cleverer than we are, they
say, as though knowledge were of no use to poor folk.
They don’t care about anybody, the poor If they had what
other people have, they would know по worries.