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A vicious circle
By Stuart Kerner


Many years ago a far off country was ruled by a wicked king. His cruelty and unfairness made his poor subjects long for him to die or be deposed.

Suddenly, completely out of the blue, the cruel king announced to his courtiers that he was changing his ways forever. He vowed to be fair and kind and kept to his word to such an extent that his previously downtrodden subjects began to call him ‘The King of Hearts’.

Some time passed before his closest advisers were brave enough to enquire of their monarch why he had unexpectedly turned over a new leaf. With a cheery smile the king told them this story:

One day I was riding through the woods that surround the palace when I saw a fox being hunted by a pack of hounds. The fox managed to get away but not before one of the dogs gave it a nasty bite on one of its hind legs, rendering the animal lame. The hound had very distinctive markings and I recognized it later as I went through the town: it was barking loudly at a young townsman. This man angered by the aggressiveness of the dog took a large rock and threw it at the dog – breaking its leg.

 

Later that day I saw the man who had thrown the rock trying to mount his horse. He was clearly inexperienced and allowed himself to be kicked violently by the horse. This blow to his leg was so severe it cracked the man’s kneecap in two, disabling him for the rest of his life.

 

The horse bolted, but had gone no more than a few yards before it plunged into a hole, breaking its leg. Each of these events made me think carefully. I realized that one evil action quickly leads to another in a vicious circle of suffering. I decided at that point that unless I stopped being wicked towards others, such wickedness would almost certainly consume me.

After the king had told his story one of his advisers left the throne room. This treacherous minister had decided to himself that the formerly feared king had gone soft, and so could now be overthrown with little resistance. Unfortunately he had gone no more than a few paces, lost in his thoughts of treason, when he fell heavily down some steps and broke his neck.

 

If we retaliate and pay evil deeds with evil deeds, the world will forever be a cruel and horrible place. Let each of us resolve to break the chain of suffering and replace the vicious circle with a cycle of love.






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