God Sees the Truth but Waits

by Leo Tolstoy


Aksenov - young merchant who live in Vladimir
Vanya - the wife of Aksenov
Makar - the man who caused Aksenov sufferings

The Story:

One summer day, Aksenov had to travel to a fair at Nizhi. Though his wife doesn’t want him to go because of her bad dream, the merchant insisted to go, to have a good fortune and to bring his family rich gifts.
When he was gone away, he met a merchant friend of his and they stopped for the night. They drank tea together and went in adjoining rooms.

He did not want to sleep long so, he woke in the middle of the night. At dinner time, he went back to the inn. An official went out and begin to ask him questions about the merchant.

Aksenov found out that the merchant he stayed last night has been found with his throat cut. The official searched his things and found a knife with a blood on his bag.

Though he was really innocent, Aksenov was brought to trial and charged with murder of a merchant from Riazan and the theft of twenty thousand rubles.

Her wife suffered because of what happened since, his children are too young. They tried to petition the case but it failed.

Everybody suspected him and his wife started to doubt him but he said that only God knows the truth.

Fir twenty-six years, Aksenov lived in Siberian servitude. While in prison, he earned to make boots. Through his clean living in prison, other prisons called him "Grandpa" and "Godly one." No one from Aksenov’s home wrote him and he did not even know if his wife and children were still alive.

One day, new convicts came and one of them is Makar who is from Vladimir and once visited Siberia.

Aksenov talk to Makar and ask some questions. On their conversation, he begins to suspect Makar that he was the one who killed the merchant.

During his stay in prison, Aksenov found out that Makar is planning to escape but still, he did not tell the official who dug the hole.

With that incident, Makar was touched and realized the mistakes he have done. He admitted that he killed the merchant and planted the knife with Aksenov. Makar dropped from the bun and bowed to the ground to ask forgiveness.

Makar confessed his guilt. But when they issued the order permitting Aksenov to return home, he was already dead.

God Sees the Truth, But Waits is a short story by Russian author Leo Tolstoy first published in 1872. The story, about a man sent to prison for a murder he didn't commit, takes the form of a parable of forgiveness. The concept of the story of a man wrongfully accussed of murder and banished to Siberia also appears in one of Tolstoy's previous works, "War and Peace", during a philosophical discussion among two characters who relate the story and argue how the protagonist of their story deals with injustice and fate.