As the moment of execution drew near, the general ordered the spy to be brought before him for a short, final interview, the primary purpose of which was to receive the answer of the doomed man to the query: "Which shall it be -- the firing squad or the Black Door?"
This was not an easy question, and the prisoner hesitated, but soon made it known that he much preferred the firing squad. Not long thereafter a volley of shots in the courtyard announced that the grim sentence had been fulfilled.
The general, staring at his boots, turned to his aide and said, "You see how it is with men, they will always prefer the known way to the unknown. It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined. And yet I gave him his choice."
"What lies beyond the Black Door?" asked the aide.
"Freedom," replied the general, "and I've known only a few men brave enough to take it."