Now I was likewise overcome with incredulity. This ancient countryside seemed like a legend. These muzhiks who fumed and railed, who wept and despaired or who thrilled and gloried, and all their new ideas and transformations, their dreams and conflicts, seemed too fantastic to be real. I knew these muzhiks so well in the old days. They were shut off from the tumult and excitement of the times. None of them ever read a newspaper or heard of foreign lands save America and perhaps Turkey. Very few of them ever saw a railway train or heard of electricity or any of the machines that had been coming to the holkhoz. They trembled in the presence of officials and the landlord was to them the great master of the world. Their thoughts, their ambitions, their daily pursuits, were bounded by their village and the nearest town bazaar. Nor could they escape from their antecedents. They were born muzhiks, they would always remain muzhiks and they would die muzhiks. That was their destiny and they could conceive of none other. They were all but buried in these ancient marshlands.