The one guilty man

By Paulo Coelho

Wise King Weng asked to visit the palace prison. And he began listening to the prisoners’ complaints.

‘I’m innocent,’ said a man accused of murder. ‘I’m here simply because I wanted to give my wife a fright, but I accidentally killed her.’

‘I was accused of taking a bribe,’ said another, ‘but all I did was accept a gift.’

All the prisoners declared their innocence to King Weng, until one of them, a young man of only twenty or so, said:

‘I’m guilty. I wounded my brother in a fight and I deserve to be punished. This place has made me reflect on the pain I caused.’

‘Remove this criminal from the prison immediately!’ cried King Weng. ‘He’ll end up corrupting all these entirely innocent men.’

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  1. Juneli says:

    It’s the reality world.

    “If you speak the truth you will get punished.”

  2. Dinsan says:

    You win when you learn how to judge yourself. No one can be better judge.. to identify yourself… your plus and negatives….

    so is the mistakes and sins…

    if u know..

    if u understand..

    if u agree…..


  3. Artemis says:

    We are all guilty. Absolution lies in self awareness, understanding, love, and forgiveness. Love for the self is love for the world. We have so much power for exceptional goodness within us. Yet too often the easiest path seems to be to ignore our intuition and do the wrong thing or nothing at all while making excuses for our actions or inaction. Like the young man in the story, sometimes we need to learn the hard way before we are able to accept ourselves and all our faults. Knowing who we are enables us to trust ourselves, our motivations, and to learn from our mistakes. Life will always be hard, but in in my humble experience it has not what has happened to me but rather how I responded to it that ultimately freed me or held me back. Peace.

  4. I find this entry quite funny. A good laugh to start a Wednesday morning for me. Thank you Mr. Coehlo! You’re the best.

  5. Karen says:

    Wise King Weng is no different than the man who intended to give his wife a fright

    Wise King Weng is no different than the man who accepted the so called gift

    Wise King Weng is a prisoner himself

    They are cowards who are afraid to take a deep clear look at their inside

    Taking refugee in excuses, they are prisoners hiding behind a polished truth

    As for the “criminal” one, he was not afraid to look at what he has done

    He looked… He saw exactly how he slipped, He thought of it dearly… and painfully…

    He opened his eyes to the simple truth, he was brave enough to admit the “crime” to himself before saying it out loud to the others

    It was his courage that set him free

    ….I want that guilty man to corrupt my innocence with his way to the truth, maybe then… Wise King Weng will cry out again and remove me from my prison.

  6. Robert Gordon says:

    Dear Mister Coelho:

    I’ve been told that one of your books is a book of quotations, and I would love to read it but I can’t seem to locate the title of it. Would you let me know that.

    Thank you

    Robert Gordon