Short story: “God Sees the Truth, but Waits”

by look i have opinions

“God Sees the Truth, but Waits” (“Бог правду видит, да не скоро скажет”) by Leo Tolstoy, translator unknown to me

Collected in Best Russian Short Stories (on; also found online here

3,014 words in this translation

Like God, the protagonist and the murderer keep the truth to themselves until the time comes to speak, and by the end of the story they’ve both become more Godlike, and the whole thing doesn’t come off as contrived at all. Probably one of the most desirable qualities a short story can have: a tight unity that makes it seem inevitable but not excessively artificial. (Though the appearance of artificiality has its beauty too.)