Russian philosopher and supporter of Peter the Great Feofan Prokopovich wrote that those sentenced to torture should be sent neither to the plants nor mines, as there is labor which is much worse. He meant the work on creating a dictionary, and Vladimir Dal would put his name down for it, as he had served this hard labor sentence for 53 years. Son of a Russified Dane and German woman, he believed Russia to be his motherland. He made certain that it is true having graduated from the Naval Cadet School and visited the native country of his ancestors during a training cruise. Dal did not like naval service, so he quit it and entered the medical faculty at the University of Dorpt. Surgeon Dal participated in Russia-Turkish War and the war against Poland. He sat at the bed of mortally wounded Pushkin, and wrote a lot of works in medicine, as well as textbooks in botany and zoology. As for his other works – novels and stories – Dal would sign them with his penname – Cossack from Lugansk. His stories Leisure of Sailors, Leisure of Soldiers, Gipsy Girl, Mischievous, Pavel Alexeyevich Igrivy and other ones (almost 1,500 all in all) are unknown to the public at large. The absolute majority of Russian residents believe that Vladimir Dal wrote only one book – his famous Dictionary of Russian Language. It all began in his youth, when 18-year-old noncommissioned officer was heading to Nikolayev, the place of his service. On the way, he heard a strange word from the coachman commenting on the sky being clouded. The young sailor was so interested that he put the word down in the notebook. Starting from that time, still new words would be noted down day after day. Over half a century, Dal noted down, processed and added commentaries for about 200,000 words! There also were 37,000 proverbs that he collected into book Proverbs of Russian Language. Besides, Dal had to deal with service, research and writing. “Our Magallanes who crossed the Russian language from A to Z,” this is how writer Andrey Bitov called Vladimir Dal.
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