* In the town of Vladimir lived a merchant named Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov along with his family.
* One summer, Aksionov planned to go to the Nizhny Fair to sell all his goods but was stopped by his wife who told him to go another day because she had a bad dream about him wherein he took off his cap and his hair was quite gray.
* Aksionov did not heed his wife’s plea and continued on to his journey.
* When he had reached the halfway point, he met a fellow merchant who he knew and they stayed at the same inn for the night, drinking tea together and sleeping in adjoining rooms.
* As it was not his habit to sleep late and wanting to leave before it became too warm, he left the inn before dawn.
* When he had gone about 25 miles, he stopped at another inn to rest, have a samovar be heated and for his horses to be fed as well.
* Suddenly, a troika drove up to the inn, followed by two soldiers who came to him and asked him who he was, where he came from, where he stayed the night and if he was alone or with a fellow-merchant.
* Aksionov found out from the police-officer of the district that the other merchant was found with his throat cut.
* The soldiers searched his things and found a blood-stained knife in his bag.
* Aksionov was too nervous to answer the police-officer’s questions of why he had the knife in his bag so they assumed that it was guilt and he was taken into their custody and brought to the nearest town to be imprisoned.
* Enquiries were done to investigate his character which found him to be a good man but when the trial came on, he was charged with murdering the merchant from Ryazan and robbing him of twenty thousand rubles.
* His wife was able to visit him in prison with their children but in the end was also one of the people who suspected him of doing the crime.
* Aksionov, feeling that no one believed him, gave up all hope and turned to God and trusted Him with everything.
* For 26 years, he lived as a convict in Siberia where his hair became white and his beard grew long, thin and gray.
* The prison authorities like him for his meekness and they along with his fellow-prisoners respected him enough to be given the title of “Grandfather” and “The Saint”.
* One day, a fresh gang of convicts came to the prison and one of them was Makar Semyonich.
* After overhearing several conversations, Aksionov was convinced that Semyonich is the man who committed the murder for which he was accused of, causing him to feel anger so great that he longed for vengeance. He prayed and prayed but found no peace from it.
* One night, as he was walking about the prison he found out that Semyonich was creating a tunnel with the help of the other prisoners under the shelf by stuffing the earth into their high-boots.
* The tunnel was found out by the prison officials and was investigated by the guards and the Governor. All the prisoners who knew would not betray Semyonich for they knew that he would be flogged almost to death.
* The Governor, knowing that Aksionov was a just and fair man, turned to him and asked him who dug the hole but Aksionov, even though he wanted revenge against Semyonich, spoke out that it is not his place to speak about the tunnel.
* That night, Makar, moved by Aksionov’s protection of him, went near him and begged for his forgiveness and revealed the truth to him.
* Aksionov forgave Semyonich and while doing so felt his heart grow lighter and the feeling of longing to go home left him.
* Makar then told the truth of the murder to the officials but when the order for his release came, Aksionov was already dead.
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