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784. Dantes in Prison

The vehemence with which Edmund Dantes reacted to his arrest was extreme. The warden found him violent and dangerous. It was true. He was confined to a solitary cell. In utter despair, Dantes tried to starve himself to death after a prolonged struggle with his fate. By this time one year had passed. One day, he found a stone in his floor moving and slowly an old man emerged out of the hole. He was a priest. From the next cell, he had been trying to dig his way out. By a miscalculation, he ended up in Dantes's cell. After listening to Dantes's story, he came forward to relieve Dantes of his burning curiosity about why he had been imprisoned. To Faria, the priest, Dantes's story was simple. At the age of 19 he had become a captain, overlooking an elder mate. He was engaged to a pretty girl. Both were cases enough to create opposition by jealousy.

Dantes explained to Faria the story of Danglars who had protested to his employer against Dantes's appointment. About Fernand's long courtship of Mercedes too Dantes explained. On top of these time bombs, Dantes was naïve enough to visit Napoleon in exile and take a letter from him. Nor did it ever strike him to keep all this information confidential. Faria heard that the letter had been addressed by Napoleon to a VIP in Paris. On hearing that name, Faria could know it was the father of Villeforte, the Magistrate. It was plain to Faria that the Magistrate had seen a great danger to his father and that was why he had burnt the letter in the presence of Dantes. Dantes had taken the act of burning the letter to be an act of security for himself. In his eyes, it was an act of kindness on the part of the Magistrate. Only when Faria explained the whole picture did it reveal its venomous significance to Dantes.

Now his mind and emotions were convinced about how he had come to prison. Faria had a great knowledge and vast experience. They revealed the story behind the simple facts. Dantes was simple in mind, though not a simpleton. He who understands his family and friends as Faria did, will accomplish and prosper in life, not he who is simplistic in thought. Dantes's goodness is true, but it was not accompanied by strength of experience. He was in prison for fourteen years, and then escaped. He came into a vast treasure bequeathed to him by Faria. Once free of the prison, he verified his suspicions and confirmed them. He planned to wreak vengeance on those who had betrayed him. Arriving in Paris a year later under the name Count of Monte Cristo, Dantes enjoyed a rare pre-eminence. He dominated the whole of Parisian high society. Innate goodness was rewarded not at once, but after it had acquired the knowledge and strength during fourteen years of hell. What life offers good men through hardship, Spirituality offers through intense good work of high standard called Perfection. Work executed PERFECTLY brings in, through a sunlit path, rewards which would otherwise come to us through suffering and privation.

story | by Dr. Radut