Tolstoy’s short story 'God Sees the Truth, but Waits' first published in 1872 is about the false conviction and imprisonment of a man for a murder he did not commit, and it takes the form of a parable for forgiveness.
Summary of God Sees the Truth but Waits
The story God Sees the Truth, but Waits is about a young merchant named Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov who lived in a town in Russia called Vladimir. He had two shops and a house. He was quite handsome, fair-haired, curly-headed, full of fun and fond of singing. Before marriage, he used to drink much but after marriage, he gave up drinking.
One summer Aksionov planned to go to Nizhny Fair for business. When he became ready to say goodbye to his family, his wife urged him not to go because she had a bad dream for him. In the dream, she saw her husband with grey hair when he returned from the town. He didn’t care about the will of his wife. He left the house and went to the town. When he travelled halfway, he met a merchant whom he knew. They both stayed at an inn, had some tea and went to bed in adjoining rooms.
The next morning, Aksionov got up late. He visited the landlord of the inn, paid the bill and continued his journey. When he had gone about twenty-five miles, he stopped to feed the horse. He was approached by some policemen. They asked him some questions. Aksionov answered them. They checked the luggage and found a blood-stained knife. Then he was arrested on a charge of robbery and murder of that merchant. He was sent to prison though he claimed that he was not the murderer.
His wife came to meet him in prison. She informed Aksionov that an appeal to Czar had been rejected. His wife's suspicion question made him conclude that he could rely on God only to know the truth. Aksionov was tortured in prison a lot. Later on, he was sent to Siberian prison to work in mines. Aksionov spent his 26 years there. He became quite old with grey hair and beard. In prison, he learnt to make boots and earned little money with which he bought the religious book. Because of his religious thought, he was liked by authorities and was respected and addressed as Grandfather or the Saint.
One day a fresh gang of prisoners arrived in prison. Among them, there was Makar Semyonich who had been imprisoned for stealing a horse from a sledge. He shared his experience with other prisoners boastfully. After hearing the words of Makar Semyonich Aksionov became sure that he was responsible for the crime for which he was blamed.
One night, Asksionov noticed Makar digging under the wall of the prison. Makar threatened to kill him if he informed others. When the Governor knew about the hole under the wall which was made to escape from the prison, he asked the prisoners to tell the truth one by one.
Aksionov didn't open his mouth. He told the Governor that he was unknown about that though he knew that Makar did that wrong activity. Makar is overwhelmed by Aksionov’s goodness in protecting him. Makar explained the reality of his guilt so that Aksionov might be forgiven. Makar felt pity for his past deed. He knelt on the ground, didn't rise, beat his head on the floor and wept for his forgiveness.
Aksionov even wept along with Makar hearing his sobbing. By hearing the remorse of Makar, Aksionov’s heart grew light. He longed to stay and die in prison. At last, Makar confessed (accepted) his guilt. When the order for Aksionov's release came, Aksionov was already dead.
Who is the Writer of God Sees the Truth but Waits?
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is the writer of God Sees the Truth but Waits was a Russian writer and a master of realistic fiction. He was born in a wealthy family in Russia. His parents died when he was a child. He was brought up by his elder brothers and relatives. He studied languages and law at Kazan University for three years. He was dissatisfied with the school and left Kazan without a degree. Then he returned to his estate and educated himself independently.
In 1848, he moved to the capital, St. Petersburg, where he passed two tests for a law degree. He took military training and became an Army officer. He wrote his first novel Childhood (1852), which became a success. By writing Boyhood (1854) and Youth (1857), he concluded the autobiographical trilogy. He also wrote Sevastopol Sketches (1855), based upon his experiences in the Crimean War. He primarily wrote novels and short stories.
Later in his life, he also wrote plays and essays. He is best known for the novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). His fiction includes dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), Family Happiness (1859), and Hadji Murad (1912). During his last three decades, Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher.