Many years ago, during a terrible desert war in the Middle East,
a spy was captured and sentenced to death by a wise old Persian
warlord. Despite the harsh sentence, the warlord was actually a
man of mercy and compassion.
Over the years he had adopted a strange custom. In death penalty
cases, he would allow the condemned a choice of a quick death by
firing squad or take his chances by passing through a mysterious
As the moment of execution drew near, the warlord ordered the
frightened spy be brought before him. “What have you chosen?
Will it be the firing squad or the black door?”
It was a terrible decision for the prisoner to make. Each time
he moved close to the massive black door, his trembling hand stopped
short of the key. Finally he informed the warlord that he much
preferred the firing squad to the unknown horrors that might lurk
in the shadows behind that mysterious black door.
A few minutes later, a volley of rifle shots signaled that the
sentence had been carried out. The old warlord, gazing off to
the distant horizon, turned to his aide and said, “You see how
it is with people; they will always prefer the known to the
unknown. That man went quietly to his death even though I gave
him a choice..”
The aide asked, “What lies behind the black door?”
“Freedom,” replied the warlord, “and I’ve known very few men
brave enough to take it.”