There was once a king who was wise and kind, He used to visit various parts of his country. Sometimes he changed his dress and moved like an ordinary citizen meeting people of different professions to find out their views.
One day he tool time to visit the prison where a number of convicts where a number of convicts were imprisoned. He reached a cell where four convicts were imprisoned. In a casual way he questioned one by one as to the reason for their conviction and punishment. The first three prisoners pleaded innocence and complained that the soldiers had unlawfully caught them even though they had not committed any crime. None of them expressed regret for their crimes.
The kind smiled at the false explanations of the three convicts and then turned to the fourth one. He questioned him about his crime and the reason for his conviction. The prisoner with folded hands and eyes filled with tears replied “Oh, I do not want to plead innocence . In my fit of anger, I had beaten my sick wife with iron-rod. her sickness became serious resulting in her untimely death. though I repented later, I do not deserve any sympathy for the serious crime I have committed”. Uttering these words he covered his tearful face with his palms and turned back.
The king was thoughtful about the answers given by the first three and the last one. After a little while he called the minister and said: “These three pleaded innocence, whereas the fourth one confessed his crime. It is not safe for these three innocent people to say in the company of a criminal. Therefor release the criminal and make him free so that these three innocent persons will be safe in prison”. The minister smiled and nodded his head appreciating the wise action of the king in releasing an honest prisoner.
MORAL – Repentance washes away the guilt.