By Baker Street
A King sat in council. He was a righteous King. The first case that was brought before him was a poor lad of humble upbringing who was accused of stealing bread from a shop. On further enquiry the King found that this was just a boy from a poverty-stricken home who had stolen out of necessity and hunger to feed his poor and down-trodden family. The King had a thought about this and rubbed his chin. He gave a small cough and declared that the young man should not go to jail, but that he and his family should helped by the welfare of the State in future. He gave him a final warning and then dismissed him.
The next case was a wealthy man accused of the same crime; stealing. He had run a financial institution that asked the poor considerable interest on their money and who had extracted payments on this interest with ruthless and severe measures. When this was not enough for the miscreant he had then allegedly had his hands in his own till and was guilty of fraud and theft. After lengthy debate this all came to light according to the records and witnesses. The King once again gave slight cough and then developed a strange frown on his forehead.
He said to the man; “You are guilty of these crimes, therefore I sentence you to ten years behind bars.” The man protested and said; “But what about the thief before me, he received no punishment at all, while I must pay the full penalty; what kind of a judge and king are you!?” “He stole out of his necessity while you stole out of your greed. In the old days small thieves were hanged while the big ones got off scot free; no longer, now it will be the other way around,” replied the King.
He was led away from the docks and was left to contemplate this lesson in life for a long time to come.