In the Russian city of Vladimir, Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov resides as a successful vendor with his wife and young children. One summer, together Aksionov sets off for Nizhy same to sell his goods, Aksionov\"s wife alerts him no to go, because that she has had a nightmare in which he went back with grey hair. Aksionov laughs turn off her issue that the nightmare was a premonition and interprets the dream as a authorize of luck.

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Halfway come the town, Aksionov to meet a other merchant, through whom that stops because that the night at an inn. The men have tea together and also sleep in adjoining rooms. Aksionov rises before dawn and sets off with his horses and coachman if the air is cool. ~ twenty-five miles, he stops to feed his horses.

During this break, two soldiers and an official arrive and also begin questioning Aksionov around his connection with the male he had tea v the night before. The seller was found dead with his neck slit. Because the 2 rooms were beside each other, it seems only natural that Aksionov might know something. Aksionov trembles in are afraid when the main searches his belongings and removes a knife streaked with blood.

The males bind and also arrest Aksionov. His mam visits the in jail and also faints in ~ the sight of the dressed as a criminal. He claims they must petition the czar, come which she says she has already tried come no avail. She asks that if he committed the murder, and also Aksionov weeps. If even his wife suspects him, he thinks after she leaves, then only God knows the truth and it is only to God the he need to appeal.

He put his belief in God and also accepts his sentencing and ceremonial flogging. That is sent to work in the Siberian mines. Over twenty-six year in Siberia, Aksionov transforms into a pious old man. His hair transforms white, his beard grows long, the walks v difficulty, and also he never laughs. The prays often and, amongst other prisoners, he develops a reputation as a meek and also fair man.

One job a newly arrived inmate named Makar Semyonich, who is around the same period as Aksionov and also from the exact same hometown, provides an account the what carried him to Siberia. He was suspected of steal a steed when in truth he had actually only borrowed it. Nevertheless, he was convicted and imprisoned. The irony is the he had acquired away v doing something much worse previously in his life.

Aksionov suspects the male is responsible for framing him. He concerns Semyonich, that cryptically responds in a means that confirms Aksionov\"s suspicion. Aksionov remembers whatever he has lost and is plunged into misery; that longs for a way to get revenge yet resolves to stay away native the guy or even look in his direction. After 2 weeks, can not to sleep, Aksionov take away a walk near the prison to find Semyonich digging a tunnel under his resting shelf. Semyonich angrily provides Aksionov escape and also threatens to kill him must he call the authorities around the tunnel. Aksionov says Semyonich has currently taken his life, and he shall execute as God directs him.

Soldiers uncover the tunnel the next day. The branch arrives to inquiry prisoners, nobody of whom recognize to understanding anything about the tunnel. ~ wrestling with his desire for vengeance, Aksionov decreases to speak what that knows about Semyonich\"s involvement, also if it way that he will be punished himself.

That night, Aksionov is around to nod off in his bunk once Semyonich sits down alongside him. Semyonich bends over and also whispers a plea because that forgiveness. He confesses the it was he who killed the other seller and stole his money; he then planted the knife so the Aksionov would become the suspect. He drops to his knees and begs because that forgiveness, promising to confess come the crimes so that Aksionov will go free. The old man replies that his life is already over and also he has actually nowhere to go.

At the sight of Semyonich\"s tears, Aksionov weeps himself. Semyonich begs again because that forgiveness. Aksionov speak him the God will forgive him, and also that possibly he self is a hundred times worse. Having said this, Aksionov feels a lightness get in his body. That no longer desires to go house or leave the prison; that wants only to die.

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The story ends with Semyonich confessing come the governor. By the time the public representative arrange Aksionov\"s release, Aksionov has already died.

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