Three Questions – Leo Tolstoy

Read Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy 

Comment on this post with your answers in paragraph form (see open-ended response formula bullet 1):

(Evaluate) Are the Kings questions selfish? (1 paragraph)

 

(Evaluate) Is the hermit being selfish and trying to pass his actions off as the answer? (1 Paragraph)

 

Please comment on another classmate’s answer (preferably one you disagree with; however, you may add more insight into an answer that you agree with).

 

 

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32 comments on “Three Questions – Leo Tolstoy

  1. Noah Bell says:

    I do not feel that the King’s questions are entirely selfish. In the story “Three Questions” Leo Tolstoy explains “if the King knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.” Since the quote only says “he would never fail in anything he might undertake”, I believe he is asking these questions to not only become a better person, but also to help become a better King. That way in the long run he would create a better kingdom.
    No, I do not think the hermit is being selfish and trying to pass his actions off as the answer. In the story “Three Questions” Leo Tolstoy reveals that “the King decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom”. If the hermit is truly as wise as his previous clients describes him as, then maybe the hermit already knew the actions would transpire. So it was just a matter of time before it happened, and the King would be enlightened from it.

    • cori says:

      What do you mean by If he always knew what was the important thing to do. You really should state”Think,If,” because it makes it look like your unsure of what you talking about.

    • elisabete fernandes says:

      I agree with you 100% because you are stating something that is easily understood and has evidence behind it .

  2. Elisabete Fernandes says:

    Are the kings questions selfish ? Well yeah a little because hes not thinking about anyone but himself . “I have come to you, wise hermit,
    to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the
    right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and
    to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest?
    And, what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention?” The reason he is asking these questions though is to know where and who his first priorities are. He also wants to know who he can tust because as a king i’m sure there is very few people that are trust worthy . He is only asking questions that will keep him safe and that will help him . As the king he should ask questions to keep everyone safe .
    Is the hermit being selfish ? Yes because he is kind of just using the king . “”Do you not see,” replied the hermit. “If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have
    repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time
    was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important
    man; and to do me good was your most important business.” The reason that the hermit says that he gave the king an answer is to show that if the king wouldnt have offered to help him with the digging then the king would have been dead . Saying that that was the answer was an easy way out for a lazy hermit . It was a simple excuse that was right in front of him .

    • K.J.P says:

      The king was not being selfish, it was more of him trying to make his life easier. By taking care of things in a more orderly fashioned way. He wants to take care of the things & people who NEED to be taken care of first. If you look back at the story it clearly states ” How can I learn to do the
      right thing at the right time, Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest, And, what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention.” How can they seem selfish if he is trying to take care of everyone else and solve of all his countries problems instead of taking care of his own problems? One of his questions even ask ”Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest?” He wants to take more care of the situations around him than to sleep.

    • Zulmarie Clemente says:

      I do not agree with Elisabete because in the story the king isn’t actually selfish,he just wants to to take care of things in a more organized way. He wants to take care of the people who actually need help and the most important things first then later on take care of other things in a nice organized way. Leo Tolstoy states in his story “How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time, Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest, And, what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention.” By him saying that it does not makes him selfish because he just wants to help the people in need first because those are the ones who really need help at the moment.

    • Mr.Sam says:

      I disagree with Elisabete the king is not selfish do to the fact he is trying to improve his kingdom also the quote she use to make an example. in my opinion is totally wrong the quote she use doesn’t relate to the king being selfish like when it quoted “I have come to you, wise hermit,
      to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the
      right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and
      to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest?
      And, what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention?” first when the king ask the question about How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? he is talking about how can he do the right thing at the right time to improve his kingdom if he was selfish his first question would be something about getting more money

  3. quadirah says:

    The kings question are not selfish . The kings want other people point of view on how the feel on his questions . the king is not fully sure on how to answer the questions so like it is stated the the story ‘he would give a great reward to any one
    who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and
    who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was
    the most important thing to do”.He saids this because he wanted a complete answer from someone to answer his questions . so when he said that he was giving a clue on what he wanted to be answered.

    the hermit was not trying to be selfish and pass his actions off as answers because he wanted the king to see that he answered his own questions without hermit telling him . in the story it states”You have already been answered!” said the hermit, ‘ . he was letting him know that by him just helping with digging the holes for hermit or the man who was wounded , every thing that he did was important. the hermit lets the king know that he didnt have to do much or give awards to people to anser the questions because he had to let the answers find a way to him.

    • Stephanie Hilas. says:

      I agree with this response, because she gave a quote and details.. for both open-ended questions making her statement believable and reasonable.

  4. Stephanie Hilas. says:

    The kings questions were not selfish, he just wanted to know what Hermit thought about his questions and how he felt. But Hermit did not answer the Kings questions because to him, the king did what was right and that was to help dig out the beds “If you had not pitied my
    weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone
    your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have
    repented of not having stayed with me.” Indicating exactly that if the King did not stay to help him, he would’ve been the one wounded.

    The Hermit in some way or form is being selfish because there was real answers to each and everyone of the kings answers, but Hermit just decided to give his own answers so he wont feel as though he was the bad person, and so since the king came to Hermit for the answers anything he said would influence the king. being selfish, not telling/giving someone the right advice just so the other person would have less information than the one telling the information.

    • quadirah says:

      i agree that the kings questions were not selfish .he wassnt really sure on how to answer the questions thats why he stated he would give a great reward to any one
      who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and
      who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was
      the most important thing to do”.when he accomplished the thingshe did that day the hermit showed him he answered his own questions with all the extra work .

    • Karim says:

      The king actions were totally for himself he doesn’t care about the hermit or the people he is just all to himself. To even think that he was trying to be a good person is crazy. He was just trying to get an answer out of the Hermit. Furthermore the Hermit saved the king’s life he should be grateful to the Hermit and thank him. The Hermit was wrong for not speaking to the king but if he had let him know what was going to happen the king would have killed the man and not have reconciled the man; So it turns out the Hermit was right to do what he did.

    • taylor says:

      i agree that the kings questions were not selfish because, they were reasonable and hermit answered his questions but not right away because he knew he could of figured it out by himself,”if you had not pitied my weakness yesterday ,and had not dug those beads for me ,but had gone on your way that man would have attacked you and you would have repented of not having stayed with me .” this is basically saying that they those questions weren’t selfish because in the outcome he helped somebody other than his self .

      i disagree with him being selfish and trying to pass his actions off as the answer because i feel that he was trying to teach the king a lesson because not answering the king when he was asking his questions saved his life and answered his questions all in one .

  5. Karim Murphhy says:

    1. The kings actions are some what selfish because he did only want the answers to those questions to benefit himself. “It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right
    time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to
    listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what
    was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything
    he might undertake.” This the main plot in the story which is what starts his whole journey to the hermit. The king states nothing about using it for the good of the community,but he’d rather use it for himself.

    2. The hermit is not selfish he saved the kings life by using his actions as an answer; If he had just answered the kings questions, the king would have died.”If you had not pitied my
    weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone
    your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have
    repented of not having stayed with me.” The hermit says this to prove his point that just giving him the answer would have done nothing. People need to sometimes be shown things for you to be able to get your point across. As they say actions speak louder than words

    • samy wancique says:

      I agree, the king actions for the answer of those question are some what selfish. Because the king wanted the answer of those question for his own gained. “And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and
      who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do”, main’s that the king wanted the answer for those question, he was giving an reward for the right answer.

    • elisabete fernandes says:

      I agree with you because the king was thinking about himself first . He is a king and his people should come first before anything to make him a great king. The questions he should have ask the hermit should have been “how can I help my people ?” or something along though’s line so i agree with you completely on your first paragraph . On your second paragraph i don’t really agree with you because i believe that the hermit didn’t know how to answer the kings questions so he used the fact that some man was going to kill him as a great way to save himself .

    • Kevin says:

      2.I agree that the hermit was not being selfish. The hermit was just showing the king the answers to his questions with actions.'”For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man.”
      “You have already been answered!” said the hermit, still crouchingon his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him’. The hermit planned on telling him how the answer was in front of him but then the man came bleeding which delayed the answer to his questions.

    • Dominique says:

      I agree but then I disagree . The king may not just want the answers for his benefit but for other people’s too . People have different perspectives , the answers might help the king become better as a person & help other people as well .

    • Noah Bell says:

      I disagree with Karim because in the story the King quoted that if his questions were answered “he would never fail in anything he might undertake”. The story never suggested that he would only use his new knowledge to benefit himself. Maybe he could have been using it to become a better king.
      I agree that the hermit wasn’t being selfish. The Hermit knew that the only way the King could have his questions answered was by experiencing it. As Karim said, the Hermit proved actions can speak louder than words

  6. Kevin says:

    1.The questions asked by the king are selfish.’if he always knew what
    was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything
    he might undertake’this quote shows that the questions asked are selfish. This quote was said because the king believes that if he knows the answer to his question then he will do everything successfully without ever failing. Its selfish because he wants to know how to do everything right without failure but everybody fails in something. So trying to find a way to do everything perfect is selfish because you would be the only one doing everything right while everybody else are making mistakes to find the right way on their own without trying to give a reward for it.

    2.I don’t believe that the hermit was being selfish.'”Do you not see,” replied the hermit. “If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone
    your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me’. The hermit say’s this to explain to the king that the answers to his questions were basically in front of him this whole time. The hermit was showing the king that he had the answer in front of him by making him feel bad for him so the king would help him. He was probably going to tell him the answer to his question after he was finished but then the man came along bleeding which of course postponed the answer. So the hermit was going to tell him his answer eventually but when the king helped the man he had to wait to tell him then he used him helping the hermit and the man as an example for the answer to his question.

    • paul says:

      1.i disagree because the kings question were not selfish, the kings want to know which was more important. if the kings was selfish we won’t ask the the people to anser in this question he would have done it by his self. for example the kings said “I have come to you, wise hermit,
      to ask you to answer three questions” while the kind ask hermit the question the her didn’t anwers so the kings was patient waiting for a anser while digging the hermit hole until few time he ask ten then thr hermit answer so the king was not selfish he was patient.

  7. Kenrick Mekoba says:

    1. The King’s questions aren’t selfish because its normally what another king ask too. In the story, “Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy, “Quote”, “I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention?” In my perspective it’s not being

  8. samy wancique says:

    The king’s three question aren’t selfish, because the three question that the king are question that any man would want to find the answer for. In the story “Three Question”, by Leo Tolstoy, the author gives examples of question that the king wants answer for, like Who were the right people to listen too, which people to avoid, and what was the most important occupation warfare or religion. “All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions”, I believe that this quote is saying that the king asked his court those three question, and he wasn’t hoping for those answer they gave, so he was going to keep looking for the right answer.

    Yes, the hermit is benig selfish and trying to pass his actions off as the answer, because the hermit is bsing king by passing his time saying look here he’s a guy who was trying to an assassin you, but had gotten wound. Not know that you killed his brother and took his property you acted with hazation you attended to his wounds, you should already know your answer to those questions. In the story “Three Question”, the king search for a consult with a hermit for answers for his question. “The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one
    else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!” This quote means do good for others and return they would do the same.

    • Michael Hall says:

      I agree that the king’s actions were selfless and that his questions were jsutified, many appear to look narrowly towards certian solutions and he may have cought on to this. knowing that these many answers couldn’t possibly be the solution since none of them ever truely work in the long run, became his reason to find the hermit, since he can give insight to the situation as a whole.

      The hermit may or may not be selfish however, as his actions in the unfolding events resulted in benefit for himself, the king & the assassin. while it was partialy due to random chance & past events, the king tending to others (i.e. the hermit and later the assassin), his actions of putting others before himself was part of the answer the hermit meant to give. The events that ensued could’ve ended in many other ways, but for the one given, one cant really be all too sure of the hermit’s true motives.

  9. K.J.P says:

    1) No the kings questions we not selfish because he just wanted to know what was most important.If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business He just wanted everything to be organized in his life. So he wanted to know who, what, and when were the most important for him.
    2) The Hermit in some way or form is being selfish because there was real answers to each and everyone of the kings answers, but Hermit just decided to give his own answers so he wont feel as though he was the bad person, and so since the king came to Hermit for the answers anything he said would influence the king. being selfish, not telling/giving someone the right advice just so the other person would have less information than the one telling the information.

  10. Wivy Wiv says:

    no the hermit is not being selfish. Because he knew the answer the answer, he just didnt want to tell him yet, he wanted him to find it out himself.

  11. Wivy Wiv says:

    Wivy Wiv to K.J.P…..I agree with the first answer you gave about the king is not being selfish, Because it says if ”he always knew what was the most important thing to
    do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake”.That means he will do whatever it takes to make the people around him better, he will do whats best for his people.

    In the second respond about the hermit is being selfish, I didn’t quite understand what point were you trying to make. But in my opinion i thought that the hermit was not being selfish.He didn’t answer the king because he wanted to make the king to find his own answer, And he did. The hermit said to him ”the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to
    do me good was your most important business.

  12. Michael Hall says:

    While his questions may seem selfish in some regard, the king’s motives appear to be somewhat benevolent. He simply wanted to know the answers to his questions so he’d be able to rule the kingdom the best way possible since any ruler can run into numerous problems and complications during their rule, the wounded attacker being one of those possible problems from his rule already until he nursed him back to health unknowing of his original motives.

    The Hermit however, can be put up to how one could interperate him. His reasoning does hold water even though it may appear he just have the king do work for him. But if anything it becomes a win-win situation: the hermit, being old and frail, gets someone more physically able to work to do his garden work for him. In turn the king not only learns a valuable lession, but through random chance, earns a new ally out of one who was originally going to kill him. the would be assassin becoming his friend after saving his life. So selfish or not, all gained benefit from these events that just so happen to be the lession the hermit meant to teach to the king.

  13. Wivy Wiv says:

    1.) Are the kings questions selfish? I don’t think that the kings questions were selfish because he asked reasonable questions. In the story “Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy it stated ,”It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to
    listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what
    was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything
    he might undertake” i think he wanted to know these questions so that he can become a better king and avoid people who want to kill him , people that he can help him and people he would listen to and get advice from.my quote illustrates my answer because it shows the questions that he wanted to be answered and how they are not selfish and his questions were answered.

  14. Kenrick Mekoba says:

    The King’s questions in my perspective wasn’t to me much selfish because of the situation he was in and what was going through his mind. But then again he shouldn’t have asked something like that because to the hermit it seemed that way. In the book “Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy, “Quote” “I have come to you, wise hermit,to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention?” These kind of questions aren’t really needed to be asked, because it should’ve been about how he’ll his town will destroy etc. His questions are just his benefit only and how he’ going to expose people.

    To me yes, the hermit is trying to pass his actions off as the answer because the hermit is just using him and wasting his time so he the king can feel as if he gotten his questions. He doesn’t want to waste his time with him and, in the story “Three Question”, the king search for a consult with a hermit for answers for his question. “The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!” To me the hermit was just trying to get something out of the king.

  15. Kenrick Mekoba says:

    The King’s questions in my perspective wasn’t to me much selfish because of the situation he was in and what was going through his mind. But then again he shouldn’t have asked something like that because to the hermit it seemed that way. In the book “Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy, “Quote” “I have come to you, wise hermit,to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention?” These kind of questions aren’t really needed to be asked, because it should’ve been about how he’ll his town will destroy etc. His questions are just his benefit only and how he’ going to expose people.

    To me yes, the hermit is trying to pass his actions off as the answer because the hermit is just using him and wasting his time so he the king can feel as if he gotten his questions. He doesn’t want to waste his time with him and, in the story “Three Question”, the king search for a consult with a hermit for answers for his question. “The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!” To me the hermit was just trying to get something out of the king.

  16. David Atkins says:

    The king”s questions in the book ” Three questions” were a bit selfish. The reason why is because he wanted to know the right play to due certain things. But in the book it states “he would never fail in anything he might undertake”. He could be helping other people in the act of finding out the answer for this but can also use it for his own reasons. So he can be a little selfish with it or not. This is how the king’s questions are a bit selfish and not selfish.

    No they Kermit is not being selfish by passing his actions as answers. He was just working at the king insist on helping him. he could of just been ignoring him and the answer for the king was just ironic that it was what he was doing. The Kermit could of just been stating the obvious for him and that was all he did. But he probably already knew the answer and wanted the king to find it out for himself. This is why I know that that is the reason why the Kermit is not acting selfish by passing his actions as answers.

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