The Black Door or the Firing Squad
An Arab Chief tells the story
of a spy who had been captured and sentenced to death by a general of
the Persian army. The general had fallen upon a strange and weird
custom. He permitted the condemned person to make a choice. He could
either face the firing squad or pass through the Black Door.
As the moment of execution drew
near, the general ordered the spy to be brought before him for a short,
final interview, the primary purpose of which was to receive the answer
of the doomed man to the query: "Which shall it be -- the firing squad
or the Black Door?"
This was not an easy question,
and the prisoner hesitated, but soon made it known that he much
preferred the firing squad. Not long thereafter a volley of shots in the
courtyard announced that the grim sentence had been fulfilled.
The general, staring at his
boots, turned to his aide and said, "You see how it is with men, they
will always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of
people to be afraid of the undefined. And yet I gave him his choice."
"What lies beyond the Black
Door?" asked the aide.
"Freedom," replied the general,
"and I've known only a few men brave enough to take it."