The prince's prison term

There was once a king who had only one son. Unfortunately, the prince was notoriously undivine, to say the least. The king was miserable that his only son was so bad.

One night a report came to one of the ministers that the king’s son had been involved in a robbery. The prince and his friends had all been caught. When the minister heard that the prince was involved, he didn’t want to take any measures against the culprits without consulting the king. So in the middle of the night he went to the king’s chamber and knocked on the door.

The king asked, “What has happened?”

When the minister told him the story, the king got furious. “You are an idiot!” he shouted. “Why do I keep you as my minister? If you were equal to your position, then at this hour you would not have come to bother me. You should be equal to your post.”

The minister understood the king and ordered the prince and his friends to be arrested and thrown into prison for six months. The following morning the minister went to the king and told him what he had done.

The king said, “You have sentenced them to six months in prison? For the other culprits six months is all right, but for my son the punishment must be six years. This is my order. His friends will stay in prison for six months, and he will stay in prison for six years.”

Every week the prince and his friends were allowed to visit the king. The king was so nice to his son’s friends. Each time he would give them beautiful presents and have talks with them. He would tell them, “Never rob again. It is not a good thing.” He would show them such kindness and affection. But he would never say a word to his son. He would only say to his son’s friends, “How could my son do this kind of thing?”

After six months all the culprits were released except the prince. The prince continued coming to the palace once a week, but the king would never speak to him or show him any kind of affection. The prince would sit in his father’s room for some time, and then he would be taken back to the prison.

Finally, after six years, the prince was released. At that time the king had a long talk with him. The king said, “I am the king. I am richer than the richest. If you had asked me, I would have given you anything you wanted. How much wealth could anyone have in comparison to my wealth? My wealth is all yours. Someday I will leave my kingdom in your hands, and then you will get everything. When you become king, you will have to be good to your subjects. People appreciate me because of my kindness, sympathy and oneness. When you, the prince, commit a robbery, what kind of oneness are you showing with your future subjects?”

Because of his father’s strictness, the prince turned over a new leaf and eventually became a wise and compassionate ruler.