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“God Sees the Truth, But Waits” by Leo Tolstoy
Card picked: Seven of Hearts
Thoughts: Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov is a young merchant with a good life. On his way to Nizhny, a journey of several days, he’s framed for the murder of a fellow merchant. He’s flogged and sent to Siberia to work in the mines. While a prisoner, Aksionov becomes a well-respected member of the prison community, respect he probably would have never gained as a successful, carefree merchant.
Twenty-six years pass before an aged convict, Makar Semyonich, arrives at Aksionov’s mine. He’s been accused of horse thieving, but has past indiscretions on his record. He is surprised to hear Aksionov’s tale. In fact, he knows details about the crime and Aksionov suspects that Makar Semyonich is the man who framed him. Since he doesn’t have hard evidence, Aksionov doesn’t take revenge on Makar Semyonich when he has the chance. Aksionov is the only one in this story that doesn’t act on his desire to punish.
This was a very short tale, very simply told, and rather grim. Near the end, Aksionov contends “Maybe I am a hundred times worse than [Makar Semyonich],” which is rather contradictory considering that it’s Aksionov’s mercy that leads Makar Semyonich to repent his wrong-doings.
About the Author: Leo Tolstoy is arguably most well known for his door-stop epics like War and Peace and Anna Karenina, but he was all over 19th century Russian literature, writing short stories, plays, and even a philosophical work, The Kingdom of God is Within You.