The Cossacks is a short novel by Leo Tolstoy, published in 1863. It tells the story of the nobleman Dmitry Olenin who joins the army in the hope of escaping the boredom and superficiality of daily life. He longs to find fulfilment among the people of the Caucasus. While spending life as a Cossack, he learns lessons about the nature of reality, moral philosophy, the complexities of psychology, and his own inner life. His love for the beautiful Maryanka leads to a conflict between the idea that happiness comes from living for others, and a passion that has no place for self-denial.