The story is told of a great military captain who, after a full day of battle, sat by a warming fire with several of his officers and began talking over the events of the day with them.
He asked them, ‘Who did the best today on the field of battle?’
One officer told of a man who had fought very bravely all day long, and then just before dusk, had been severely wounded. Another told of a man who had taken a hit for a fellow soldier, sparing his friend’s life but very possibly losing his own. Yet another told of the man who had led the charge into battle. And still another told of a soldier who had risked his life to pull a fellow soldier into a trench.
The captain heard them out and then said, ‘No, I fear you are all mistaken. The best man in the field today was the soldier who was just lifting up his arm to strike the enemy, but, upon hearing the trumpet sound the retreat, checked himself, dropped his arm without striking the blow, and retreated. That perfect an ready obedience to the will of his general is the noblest thing that was done today on the battlefield.’