The Prisoner

“Prisoner, tell me, who was it that bound you?”

“It was my master,” said the prisoner. “I thought I could outdo everybody in the world in wealth and power, and I amassed in my own treasure-house the money due to my king. When sleep overcame me I lay upon the bed that was for my lord, and on waking up I found I was a prisoner in my own treasure-house.”

“Prisoner, tell me who was it that wrought this unbreakable chain?”

“It was I,” said the prisoner, “who forged this chain very carefully. I thought my invincible power would hold the world captive leaving me in a freedom undisturbed. Thus night and day I worked at the chain with huge fires and cruel hard strokes. When at last the work was done and the links were complete and unbreakable, I found that it held me in its grip.”

This is from the book Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore.

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