Ivan Pokhitonov depicted Leo Tolstoy in a number of compositions and visited Yasnaya Polyana frequently, as the men admired one another greatly.
The inscription on this drawing also holds significance. Leo Tolstoy's oldest and most beloved brother, Nikolai, had a vivid imagination as a child. When Leo was a young boy Nikolai announced to his brothers that he possessed the secret to universal happiness. If his secret became known, then all men on earth would love one another and become 'Muravei [Ant] Brothers' (presumably a play on the religious sect known as the Moravian Brothers). Nikolai claimed to have written this wonderful secret, the means by which all men would find eternal happiness, on a green stick buried by the road at the edge of the Zakaz forest. The brothers would then play a game in which they promised never to quarrel, and to love one another always.
Leo Tolstoy later shared nostalgic tales of these adventures with his children, who recall their father's deep affection for the green stick and the 'Ant Brothers' game of peace and happiness. In accordance with his request, Tolstoy is buried in the Zakaz forest, opposite the ravine at the place of the green stick. (T. Tolstoy, Tolstoy Remembered, New York, 1977, p. 262; E.J. Simmons, Leo Tolstoy, Boston, 1946, pp. 21, 22.)