I seem to recall having read a short story about 10 years ago where the ending of the story was a misquotation of the famous quote from the end of the book A Tale of Two Cities

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."

The short story, however, reversed the quotation to indicate that the person had done the worst thing that they had ever done. If I recall correctly the person then dies after having made their statement.

I am not sure about the author, however, it might have been Isaac Asimov. I almost think that it was one of his "Azazel" stories, however, I have read all of the ones that I can find in my library and cannot locate the story in question, so I think perhaps I am mistaken.

Also, by indicating that I read it 10 years ago, I don't indicate that that is when it was first written, I think it is probably older than that.

Looking online yields no results for me, and I can't seem to find it in any of my short stories in my collection, so I am hoping that someone can remember this better than I do. Can someone help me locate this short story?

1 Answer 1


"The Time Traveler" (1990), by Isaac Asimov. It is, as you guessed an Azazel story:

"Indeed. Indeed. But that's not what I mean. Can you imagine that teacher-insult to the human condition, upon learning of my greatness, still clinging to his position. No shame. No despair. He still maintained that my juvenilia was crap and moved not one centimeter from that position. My heart, George, is broken. It was a far, far worse thing I did than I have ever done. It is a far, far worse rest that I go to than I have ever known."

He drifted away, old man, a shattered and broken hulk. It was not long afterward that he died.

Unlike the majority of his Azazel stories, this and a half-dozen other of his later Azazel stories were only reprinted in Magic: The Final Fantasy Collection.


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