Tales of Karmic Becoming

Ræl H. Bishop

The Apology

The Count sat on the ironclad throne that symbolized his colossal empire – and even larger ego. Taking a moment’s rest, he looked out the windows of his chambers and took in its fleeting landscape. Then, to his surprise, the landscape stopped its movement. He remained seated, but barked to his servants to find out why. Within moments, a surprise visitor entered his court: a ragged and tattered man that was none other than his own father.

“My son, look what has happened to you!”

The Count became angered at his remark. The Count explained that he was only living in his father’s image, expanding his empire in his glory, and that his father should’ve died meditating in the woods years ago as tradition states. But his father pleaded with him, apologizing for how he brought the Count up.

Many years past, the count’s father ruled with an even hand over his realm. With his wife, the two created a land of progress and a safe-haven for all. Alas, the Count’s mother died shortly after childbirth. Not wanting his son to disappoint, the father decided to raise the young Count himself. What he had lacked that his wife was replete in, however, was compassion. He raised the Count not with hugs and kisses, but with fists and screams. In doing so he had raised a clever son, well versed in the rules and in strategy, but one foreign to loving-kindness. He ruled over a vicious army, lead with absolute power, and was a warlord in all but name. Hearing what became of his son and realizing why, the Count’s father could no longer continue his forest meditations.

The Count became irate with his father’s accusations, and in a fit of rage fatally struck his nearby husband. Finally seeing the err in his ways, the Count fled the room and sourly contemplated his conduct. Intense rage turned into tears as he realized how he had tarnished his father’s repute. A faded statue, long since forgotten in the corner of the traveling palace, shot a beam of light into the Count’s eyes. He was blinded, but a rather familiar voice could be heard.

“You have fallen off the path…”

“But how?” the Count cried. “I haven’t known any better! I’ve done so much damage in the past; how can I ever make up for it?”

“Your past cannot be changed. By mistaking mixed acts for caring ones, misdeeds taint your being and incur you to act more in the wrong. For no act of violence or mean-spirit is done with a caring mind; every kind thought is tainted with a following mean one. But by acting with kindness, with compassion, with care, and by keeping this in mind, your being will be molded in a proper image.”

The light then flickered out as swiftly as it came. The Count returned to his court and forgave his father. He then – for the first time in his life – hugged his father. The father was overjoyed, and left shortly thereafter to die in peace.

The Count then dedicated the remainder of his reign to truly living in his father’s image. Something virtuous that had been repressed awoke in his heart. With the help of his consuls and even servants, he learned to love and rule with compassion. He used his prowess to resolve conflicts, and used the empire’s resources to help those in need. The realm was once again a safe-haven for all. The public didn’t know of his father’s return, and ascribed the change in personality to divine will. When the Count passed on, his rewards were innumerable – but his wrong doings had yet to run their course.


0. Image at the top of the page is a modification of Léonard Gaultier’s “The Servant Begging for Mercy from His King”, 16th century, public domain.

Cabal | The Apology | Recollection