One of Napoleon’s soldiers committed a crime — the story doesn’t tell which crime — and he was sentenced to death.
On the eve of his execution, the soldier’s mother implored that the life of her son be spared.
“Dear lady, what your son did doesn’t deserve clemency.”
“I know,” said the mother, “If it deserved, it wouldn’t really mean forgiveness. Forgiving is the capacity of going beyond vengeance and justice.”
As he heard these words, Napoleon reduced the soldier’s death sentence to exile.