liked to listen to stories of real life. He smiled gleefully as he listened to such stories, putting in words and asking questions, all aiming at bringing out clearly the moral beauty of the action of which he was told. Attachments, friendships, love, as Pierre understood them, Karataev had none; but he loved and lived on affectionate terms with every creature with whom he was thrown in life, and especially so with man—not with any particular man, but with the men who happened to be before his eyes. He loved his dog, loved his comrades, loved the French, loved Pierre, who was his neighbour. But Pierre felt that in spite of Karataev’s affectionate tenderness to him (in which he involuntarily paid tribute to Pierre’s spiritual life), he would not suffer a moment’s grief at parting from him. And Pierre began to have the same feeling towards Karataev.

To all the other soldiers Platon Karataev was the most ordinary soldier; they called him “little hawk,” or Platosha; made good-humoured jibes at his expense, sent him to fetch things. But to Pierre, such as he appeared on that first night—an unfathomable, rounded-off, and everlasting personification of the spirit of simplicity and truth—so he remained to him for ever.

Platon Karataev knew nothing by heart except his prayers. When he talked, he did not know on beginning a sentence how he was going to end it.

When Pierre, struck sometimes by the force of his remarks, asked him to repeat what he had said, Platon could never recall what he had said the minute before, just as he could never repeat to Pierre the words of his favourite song. There came in, “My own little birch-tree,” and “My heart is sick,” but there was no meaning in the words. He did not understand, and could not grasp the significance of words taken apart from the sentence. Every word and every action of his was the expression of a force uncomprehended by him, which was his life. But his life, as he looked at it, had no meaning as a separate life. It had meaning only as a part of a whole, of which he was at all times conscious. His words and actions flowed from him as smoothly, as inevitably, and as spontaneously, as the perfume rises from the flower. He could not understand any value or significance in an act or a word taken separately.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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