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God Sees the Truth, but Waits

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This is a very fine example of Leo Tolstoy's gift at telling good stories. This is an amazing short story about a merchant and how an unexpected event changes his life for the worse, but in a way, for the better… This is a very fine example of Leo Tolstoy's gift at telling good stories. This is an amazing short story about a merchant and how an unexpected event changes his life for the worse, but in a way, for the better…


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This is a very fine example of Leo Tolstoy's gift at telling good stories. This is an amazing short story about a merchant and how an unexpected event changes his life for the worse, but in a way, for the better… This is a very fine example of Leo Tolstoy's gift at telling good stories. This is an amazing short story about a merchant and how an unexpected event changes his life for the worse, but in a way, for the better…

30 review for God Sees the Truth, but Waits

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    “God Sees the Truth, but Waits” is a deceptively simple short story from Leo Tolstoy, written in 1872, about a wealthy, carefree young man falsely accused of murder. I was fascinated by the parallelism between the events at the beginning of the story and those at the end, including: • a crucial conversation with someone • a run-in with authority • a follow-up conversation with the same person • the steep downward trend of Aksionov's material, worldly fortunes with each event, but a corresponding up “God Sees the Truth, but Waits” is a deceptively simple short story from Leo Tolstoy, written in 1872, about a wealthy, carefree young man falsely accused of murder. I was fascinated by the parallelism between the events at the beginning of the story and those at the end, including: • a crucial conversation with someone • a run-in with authority • a follow-up conversation with the same person • the steep downward trend of Aksionov's material, worldly fortunes with each event, but a corresponding upward trend in his spirituality. It's a thoughtful take on the theme that God doesn't necessarily rescue us physically from terrible, unfair events, but that spiritual growth may come from personal trials. This story is free online many places, including here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    This is the story that inspired Stephen King's great novella - 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption'. Wisdom comes as a gift along with this beautiful story. This is the story that inspired Stephen King's great novella - 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption'. Wisdom comes as a gift along with this beautiful story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tamoghna Biswas

    "'For my sins I have been in prison these twenty-six years.'" In my earlier school days, I used to think Tolstoy as some formidable being, someone whose works will always be out of my bounds. All was created by our teachers, of course…I don’t know what our teachers play at in the school level, they teach us that stories are not meant to be read for simple pleasure, but for analysing and dissecting. And that does create a general dread against literature. Luckily, I didn’t pay any heed to them; "'For my sins I have been in prison these twenty-six years.'" In my earlier school days, I used to think Tolstoy as some formidable being, someone whose works will always be out of my bounds. All was created by our teachers, of course…I don’t know what our teachers play at in the school level, they teach us that stories are not meant to be read for simple pleasure, but for analysing and dissecting. And that does create a general dread against literature. Luckily, I didn’t pay any heed to them; that granted me considerably lower marks, but at least I am now able to read classics just for pleasure, not for analysing. And this story is the first one that shaped my interest for Russian Literature, and that Tolstoy is a thoroughly readable person. Melancholic, sober, heart-breaking, words will simply fail me if I want to describe this story in words. The plot involves a jolly person, Ivan being wrongly accused of murder and put beyond the bars, where, years later comes a person, seeing whom Ivan is convinced that he might be the actual culprit. Basically, if you have watched The Shawshank Redemption, you will wonder if Stephen King was thoroughly inspired by this story, for the blockbuster he wrote down. I’m doubtful as it isn’t acknowledged anywhere. The ending of the story, you will see much beforehand. But still, your heart will ache. The gradual transition from hopefulness to hopelessness, I don’t think it can be written in more readable words by anyone. Tolstoy had definitely produced some other gems of shorter fiction like The Death Of Ivan Ilych, Kreutzer Sonata and all; but this one holds a special place in my heart. For it was the first one. I simply had memorized every single words of it, I loved it so much. “'it seems that only God can know the truth; it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from him alone expect mercy.'”

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ammara Abid

    What a beautiful, heart-touching story! I Love Love Love his work whether its a short story or a novel. Undoubtedly, Leo Tolstoy is one of the greatest literary craftsman ever lived.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Walters

    This is simply one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. Forgiveness is something undervalued nowadays.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Naveed Nawaz

    "It seems that only God can know the truth; it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy." Iyyaka Nabudu wa iyyaka nasta-een. Whatever these great russians wrote, it didn't fail to touch your heart. Forgiveness, kindness, patience and empathy are the most important things in life. No matter what Allah puts you through, face it thankfully and humbly. HE knows best. Be forgiving because HE likes those the most who are forgiving. Beautiful beautiful little story. "It seems that only God can know the truth; it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy." Iyyaka Nabudu wa iyyaka nasta-een. Whatever these great russians wrote, it didn't fail to touch your heart. Forgiveness, kindness, patience and empathy are the most important things in life. No matter what Allah puts you through, face it thankfully and humbly. HE knows best. Be forgiving because HE likes those the most who are forgiving. Beautiful beautiful little story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    Ultimately a depressing story. A man is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and spends 26 in a prison in Siberia away from his young family.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Luan Morina

    'leave it to the God to judge...' is something my mum always tells me... it's way better, easier to live this way, but... this book, although pretty short has in itself the act of forgiveness... has a good morale story behind it, but I'm not sure I agree with it entirely... 'leave it to the God to judge...' is something my mum always tells me... it's way better, easier to live this way, but... this book, although pretty short has in itself the act of forgiveness... has a good morale story behind it, but I'm not sure I agree with it entirely...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Salma Bk

    Aksyonov spent 26 years of his life imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit. He was deprived of his liberty and his family. After all these years of suffering and pain in the Siberian prison, he meets Makar, the real murderer. This short story talks about injustice, hope, and forgiveness. Even after his innocence was proven by the courts, Aksyonov could not take advantage of his freedom. Happiness for him was to see his family. “To pay for my sins I’ve done twenty-six years penal servitude.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hanin Reads

    3.75 “It seems that only God can know the truth; it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Dreams, confusion, wisdom, forgiveness, resolve. So much is packed within these few pages. Incredible how you can get so lost in something this small.

  12. 5 out of 5

    King Iris

    A beautiful heart breaking short story. I don’t agree with the end though. Forgiveness is beautiful, but in such extreme cases like this ? I dont know

  13. 5 out of 5

    B. P. Rinehart

    [Update 11/25/2015]: With Thanksgiving Day (U.S.) tomorrow this story is on my mind again. Ti seemed like Tolstoy looked at the Book of Job and said, "I can write better than this, in half the time." This story pushes the very limits of what redemption and forgiveness is and it asks hard questions of the reader. As short as it is, I feel it has an even deeper message than The Death of Ivan Ilyich. [Original Review]: I guess by Russian standards this could be considered to have a happier ending. I [Update 11/25/2015]: With Thanksgiving Day (U.S.) tomorrow this story is on my mind again. Ti seemed like Tolstoy looked at the Book of Job and said, "I can write better than this, in half the time." This story pushes the very limits of what redemption and forgiveness is and it asks hard questions of the reader. As short as it is, I feel it has an even deeper message than The Death of Ivan Ilyich. [Original Review]: I guess by Russian standards this could be considered to have a happier ending. I think of two things a movie and a short story that became a movie. The movie that came to my mind is Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu which tells of trying to get wealthier only to lose your most prized possessions on a whim. The other story is 'The Shawshank Redemption' from Steven King's Different Seasons which ask how do you forgive when you can gain no consolation from it. Of course, it all comes back to the title of this short story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nesa

    It’s a sad and heartbreaking short story . I felt abit hopeless by reading it , but what about fighting for your right and life ? Being humble in a way that hurts you and specially your family members in a long period of time , is not always a wise choice

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vaishali

    Woah... floored me. Just floored.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jale Hajiyeva

    From 4 stars (when i first read it and was not very much impressed) to 5 stars (when i learned that this short story was favorite one of Leo Tolstoy himself and reread it) <3

  17. 5 out of 5

    Raafi

    This book was mentioned in Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, a book by Terry Tempest Williams that I'm currently reading. A classic short story tells about a man who had been unjustly condemned of something he never did: killed a merchant. He had been in the prison for twenty six years until the actual murderer who killed the merchant. "And at these words his heart grew light, and the longing for home left him. He no longer had any desire to leave the prison, but only hoped for hi This book was mentioned in Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, a book by Terry Tempest Williams that I'm currently reading. A classic short story tells about a man who had been unjustly condemned of something he never did: killed a merchant. He had been in the prison for twenty six years until the actual murderer who killed the merchant. "And at these words his heart grew light, and the longing for home left him. He no longer had any desire to leave the prison, but only hoped for his last hour to come." A story about letting go and sincereness.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eye of Sauron

    Like How Much Land Does a Man Need?, this short story is quite simple in premise and execution, but its implications are much more thought-provoking, this one probably more so than the other story. In this tale of injustice, tragedy, and forgiveness, you can see Tolstoy's character shine through in the portrait of Aksionov, one of my favorite protagonists in the short story genre, as he struggles with acceptance, forgiveness, and grace. It's a good, short read, so I heartily recommend it. Also i Like How Much Land Does a Man Need?, this short story is quite simple in premise and execution, but its implications are much more thought-provoking, this one probably more so than the other story. In this tale of injustice, tragedy, and forgiveness, you can see Tolstoy's character shine through in the portrait of Aksionov, one of my favorite protagonists in the short story genre, as he struggles with acceptance, forgiveness, and grace. It's a good, short read, so I heartily recommend it. Also it's the basis for The Shawshank Redemption, so even better.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rayna

    4.5/5 stars. Listened to this one on audiobook and the narrator was obviously having trouble with the Russian names lol. Anyway, I enjoyed this story a lot. Despite the not-quite happy ending, I found the overall message hopeful.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kennedy Ifeh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is an amazing story about a merchant that is imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit. After 26 yrs in jail, he comes across the killer in the same prison. He comes in the situation to repay the killer for his crime and earn his freedom, but he refused. Eventually he dies before freedom could come his way. After more than a century of Tolstoy's death, the message is still relevant in our days. I can relate this story to the life of Nelson Mandela. However, I cannot relate with the fact This is an amazing story about a merchant that is imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit. After 26 yrs in jail, he comes across the killer in the same prison. He comes in the situation to repay the killer for his crime and earn his freedom, but he refused. Eventually he dies before freedom could come his way. After more than a century of Tolstoy's death, the message is still relevant in our days. I can relate this story to the life of Nelson Mandela. However, I cannot relate with the fact that God knew that the merchant was not responsible for his crime, yet allowed him to die in prison. I gave this a four star because Tolstoy espoused on a fundamental question, why is there so much evil in the world and God watches the righteous and innocent suffer? Unfortunately, Tolstoy left us more confused.

  21. 5 out of 5

    SI MA

    "It seems that only God can know the truth; it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy." "And, after all, what good would it be to me?" :( "God will forgive you!" said he. "Maybe I am a hundred times worse than you." And at these words his heart grew light, and the longing for home left him. He no longer had any desire to leave the prison, but only hoped for his last hour to come. What a masterpiece... "It seems that only God can know the truth; it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy." "And, after all, what good would it be to me?" :( "God will forgive you!" said he. "Maybe I am a hundred times worse than you." And at these words his heart grew light, and the longing for home left him. He no longer had any desire to leave the prison, but only hoped for his last hour to come. What a masterpiece...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    Read this in my very early teens and it made me cry...a decade later it still does. a beautiful but sad tale.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Patrice

    "It seems that only God can know the truth, it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy." "It seems that only God can know the truth, it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy."

  24. 5 out of 5

    MICHELLE G VIRNELSON

    Really short thought provoking book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Terese

    Amazing short story. Tolstoy can write short stories like no one else. Needed this as a palette cleanser after Ayn Rand’s ”The Romantic Manifesto”

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aya Hamouda

    At first I want to start with what _Prophet Mohammed_ (peace and blessings be upon him) said through this Hadith;((Wathila ibn Al-Asqa’ reported: I asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, saying, “O Messenger of Allah, is it part of tribalism that a man loves his people ? ”The Prophet said,“No, but rather it is tribalism that he supports his people in wrongdoing." Al-Bayhaqi reported: Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Whoever would love for himself to be jus At first I want to start with what _Prophet Mohammed_ (peace and blessings be upon him) said through this Hadith;((Wathila ibn Al-Asqa’ reported: I asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, saying, “O Messenger of Allah, is it part of tribalism that a man loves his people ? ”The Prophet said,“No, but rather it is tribalism that he supports his people in wrongdoing." Al-Bayhaqi reported: Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Whoever would love for himself to be just with people, then let him treat people the way he would love to be treated.” All these previous sayings talk about justice and injustice , As a Muslim when I read this novel every single word about injustice in Islam came to my mind. I really wanted to share these feelings and words with others who read this novel. Tolstoy , just in 31 pages he taught us very beautiful values. As a Muslim ; The 1st thing came to my mind when I first read the title of this novel was what Allah told Us in The Holy Quran ;" Such is the seizing of your Lord that when He does seize the towns immersed in wrong-doing, His seizing is painful, terrible ". I also at the same Time remembered what prophet Mohammed (صلي الله عليه وسلم ) said : “Verily, Allah Almighty will give respite to the wrongdoer until he seizes him and he cannot escape.” . I even think that Tolstoy Quoted the title from that Hadith of the Prophet Mohammed. In any way I really Liked this novel a lot.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amalie

    This one deserves five stars. There are so many meaningful layers and the fact the title sounds paradoxical makes the story even better. I read this with the group so I don't feel the need to review again. Anyone who's interested can checkout the discussion thread. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... This one deserves five stars. There are so many meaningful layers and the fact the title sounds paradoxical makes the story even better. I read this with the group so I don't feel the need to review again. Anyone who's interested can checkout the discussion thread. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

    I read an edited edition of this story (so I don't know if there was any bad language or anything), but it was a moving story about injustice, forgiveness, and victory. I definitely recommend it!! I read an edited edition of this story (so I don't know if there was any bad language or anything), but it was a moving story about injustice, forgiveness, and victory. I definitely recommend it!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    K. Anna Kraft

    I have arranged my takeaway thoughts into a haiku, as best as I could: "Life becomes simpler, When one lets go of their hope But retains their faith." I have arranged my takeaway thoughts into a haiku, as best as I could: "Life becomes simpler, When one lets go of their hope But retains their faith."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bedriya.

    "It seems that only God can know the truth; it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy." "It seems that only God can know the truth; it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy."

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