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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