Enemy at your door, there is a thin line between toughness and cruelty

Enemy at your door, there is a thin line between toughness and cruelty




Some travelers walked into the entrance of a castle with what looked like a suspicious cargo, a huge sack on their backs, the king quickly ordered them to be taken to a tightly locked dungeon and be inspected thoroughly before being allowed into the inner city. Some nobles and the people began to protest demanding justice for the visitors they remarked that the king was acting too cruelly on them, what evidence did he have? For what good reason there is that he should treat them that way?

The king then had to accept their plea and as the people wished, the travelers were released and allowed to freely mingle with the local population. On the night of the second day, two large rats crawled out of their sacs and ventured into the neighboring marketplace infecting everything, food, drinks, beddings etc. in the blink of an eye an unknown plague was spreading in the castle infecting thousands a day, it spread far and wide into the neighboring villages killing important people, nobles and commoners alike, even the king’s son, an heir to the throne succumbed to the plague. The king in pain and grief watched helplessly as his people perished , “had they listened to me, maybe none of this would have happened, now our castle has no future?” he wept

The monks came to give him some advice saying that he had nothing to do with this, this was a work of divine intervention. “When I tried to conduct thorough inspection on the visitors”, says the king, “the people said that I was being cruel now let them enjoy the fruits of their stubbornness.

There is a very thin line between toughness and cruelty, it’s hard to distinguish the two either, and it’s also very easy to fall on either side of the tight rope. People do not like leaders that happen to be too soft that would allow an enemy to penetrate their protective barriers, they want their leaders to be tough enough so as to protect them from externally perceived threats, tough leaders carefully examine a problem and try to resolve it with the most extreme caution and the least possible damage, the way a surgeon tries to remove a foreign object from inside the body that is very close to vital organs, then proceeds to gracefully neutralize it.

 A cruel king on the other hand acts impulsively, blinded by vengeance and rage, he wreaks enormous havoc for no apparent reason or by ideals some of his subjects see as rather foolish, a tough king knows when to take quick action and when to proceed with moderation, tough kings are feared and loved by their subjects, cruel kings are feared and loathed, like the sight of a lone wolf appearing on a hilltop, strikes fear among the herds of cattle and sheep in the valley below, they suddenly scatter. 




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