One of my favorite stories relates to Napoleon* — the Grand Emperor of the French Republic. Napoleon was at a parade of troops outside of Paris. His Marshalls, his staff and his officers were all present. As Napoleon was reviewing the troops, a small animal ran from a bush startling his horse. The horse bucked. Reared up. And Napoleon fell backward in his saddle, clinging precariously to the reins. No one moved. Except for a young private who sprinted from the lines. His rifle clattered to the ground. His hat flew off. The private grabbed the reins of the Emperor’s horse, unceremoniously shoved Napoleon back into the saddle and snapped to attention.
Napoleon looked around. At his Marshalls. His staff. His officers. And then down at the young private. In a booming voice, Napoleon said “Thank you. . . Captain.”
The young man – obviously flustered – responded “Of what regiment, Sir?”
Napoleon laughed. “Of my personal guard.”
The story speaks of courage and the occasional need for immediate action. How often do we “pass by” those who may need help? Those in trouble? People who may need a hand? Someone who needs a kind word? I dunno – but when I’m confronted by situations like this, the story of the young but courageous private comes to mind.
*Source – Billy Sunday, the Man and His Message by William T. Ellis