Important Points

  • The play has been set up in Russia.
  • Initially, the text was written in Russian language and later on translated into English.
  • Genre – This is a short story.
  • Published date – 1872

Introduction

The story “God sees the Truth but Waits” was written by Leo Tolstoy, a Russian writer, who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all the time.

The entire story revolves around injustice, sufferings and false allegations claimed on an honest man, Aksionov, till the culmination of the story. Despite the sufferings, Aksionov’s true faith in God is also highlighted, which has been considered as the main theme of the story.

A Bad Dream

The story begins with the conversation between Aksionov and his wife, where Aksionov informed his wife about his plan to go to the Nizhny fair, as a business venture .On listening to him, his wife pleaded not to go because of a nightmare she had last night in which she saw Aksionov returning the town with grey hair. She became quite afraid for her husband taking her dream into consideration as a sign of bad omen. This could be interpreted as a meaning that he will be separated from her and will be only be able to return when he is old.

However, this had no effect on Aksionov. In fact he made fun and disregards her dream and left for the fair. On his way, Aksionov met another merchant and they both decided to travel together. They found an inn and stayed there for rest. Not having the habit to sleep for too long, Aksionov left the inn before dawn without informing his fellow merchant.

On travelling a good amount of distance (25 miles), Aksionov was caught by few policemen who began to cross questioning him like “Who was he”, “From where did he come, “Where did he spend last night”, “Was he alone?” “Did he see the other merchant this morning?” And “Why did he leave the inn before dawn?”.

With little nervousness, Aksionov answered all the questions honestly and later informed that he was travelling for a business purpose and there was no need to doubt him.

Aksionov is Arrested

Then, it was District Police officer, who explained him that a merchant was just murdered with his throat cut and robbed, so they need to search his bag. On investigation, a bloody knife was discovered in Aksionov’s bag. Despite his claim that he is not a murderer, he is sentenced to prison, where his wife re-appeared to visit him. She informed him that his appeals to State authorities had been exhausted.

Later, out of despair, she discussed about her dream and passing her fingers in his hairs, she asked Aksionov to tell the truth at least to her that was it he who had committed the murder. This completely devastated Aksionov that even his wife suspected him of the guilt. This was the time when Aksionov realized that it is only God who knows the Truth. He rejected the ideas of writing any sort of petitions, gave up all hope and only prayed to God.

Aksionov is Sent to Siberia

Later, he was flogged and sent to Siberia as a convict. He was imprisoned for twenty six years, his beard grew long, thin and grey. He started leading a spiritual life. He knew that God is seeing the truth and he will find peace only in letting go his anger and misery. It shows that how even in the time of hardship, he did not loose hope in the Ultimate Power that is God.

In prison, he made boots, earned money, and then bought a book “The Lives of the Saints”, which he did not only read but also explained to other prisoners and sang choirs every Sunday. So he was well respected by his fellow prisoners as well as by the guards for his great humanly gesture.

One day, some new prisoners came, one of them being, Makar Semyonich. They had several conversations about who was convicted for what and how they got imprisoned.

When Aksionov asked Makar about the murderer of the merchant, Makar replied that it must have been the person, in whose bag the knife was found. This statement made Aksionov realised that it was Makar Semyonich ,who had committed the murder for which he was blamed.

One day, the guards found a tunnel, which Aksionov had found earlier that it was Makar Semyonich who was digging the hole,but after being questioned by the Police, Aksionov denied and told that he had no words to speak and the authorities are free to punish him and do whatever they want.

Makar Confesses His Crime

That night, Makar Semyonich, approached Aksionov in a terrible state after realising his mistake. He disclosed that he was the one who had killed the merchant for which Aksionov was suffering. He told that he was even about to kill Aksionov but spared him after hearing some noises. But now he is guilt-stricken so wants to apologise.

Aksionov forgave Semyonich for accepting the truth and felt that a terrible weight had been lifted from his head. Makar Semyonich confessed this truth in front of the Authorities, but when the process for Aksionov’s release began, it was too late, as Aksionov had already died.

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