In the short story All The King’s Horses, Colonel Bryan Kelly has to make many hard decisions and sacrifices in order to escape being a prisoner of war and stay alive. The plane he was traveling with his family, on a plane to a new military appointment in India. The plane crashed and Kelly, his wife and twin sons, 10 soldiers, and the pilot and co-pilot are taken as prisoners-of-war by the Communist guerrilla, Pi Ying. Kelly agrees to play a game of chess with Pi Ying in which Kelly and his family and the other prisoners are human chess pieces and every time Pi Ying captures one of the human pieces he kills them.

The decision to agree with playing this game in the first place was a tough decision in and of itself for many reasons. First it was a decision that had to have made him think because he believed that he already knew what his fate and the fate of the other prisoners would be, death, “Now, Colonel Kelly was returning from an interview with PI Ying, who had told him what was to become of the sixteen American prisoners. Sixteen— Kelly shook his head as the number repeated itself in his thoughts….. ‘He considers us prisoners of war,’ said Kelly, trying to keep his voice even. ‘He’d like to shoot us all.’ He shrugged. ‘I haven’t been trying to keep you in suspense, I’ve been looking for the right words—and there aren’t any. Pi Ying wants more entertainment out of us than shooting us would provide. He’d like to prove that he’s smarter than we are in the bargain.’”(All The King’s Horses, Pgs. 91,93). Either being killed now, all at the same time, or being killed one by one and the order being chosen by a long grueling game of chess that just made the looming threat of death all that more real and all the more haunting to Kelly and the other prisoners. In other words he was in essence choosing the method of his own death and the death of those around him and he had to be willing to do that. Another reason that it was tough was because he had to be willing to make sacrifices in order to survive longer, he had to be willing to bargain with those who held him prisoner even to the point of death, he had to be willing to sacrifice his own life for those around him to live.


This shows in many ways that one we have to make tough decisions and sacrifices in our own lives in order to live the way we are supposed to and in order to survive longer. We have sacrifice many things that are important to ourselves and other for the greater good and the good of both ourselves and others. Kelly in many ways was trying to think about how he would stay alive, protect his family, and bring as many of the other prisoners as he could out alive with him the way he choose to do this was to make sacrifices that put even his own life in danger, this being the only option he saw. One example that I can think of is the fact that my father has to make many hard decisions and sacrifices for me and my siblings in order to give us what we need to survive in this life and would never in a million years let one of be sacrificed in his place.

One time when I was four years old my father took a hit for me in the form of a motorcycle accident. When had just come out of church service on a Sunday morning and my dad had crossed the street because the car was on the other side. I decided to run across the street to get to him and being four years old I didn’t think to look both ways before crossing and there just so happened to be a motorcycle coming right towards me. My father then ran out into the street and took the hit from the motorcycle in order to protect me and keep me from being seriously injured or killed. He loves me enough to know that he would rather die in my place than sacrifice my life to get something out of it for himself. In that moment he decided that he would rather sacrifice himself then watch his four year old die because she didn’t that she needed to look both ways before crossing the street. Because he took the hit he was hospitalized for several days because his ankle was broken and to this day he has three screws in his right ankle. The only reason he lived through it and came out of it with nothing but a broken was God’s grace and power.


This shows that no matter how awesome life feels or how well our lives seem to be going, whether we’re on the right track or not we will eventually run into place and times when we are stuck between a rock and a hard place and we have to make tough decisions, and pick and choose what we need to sacrifice and what we are going to sacrifice in order to make these tough decisions and get through life no matter what, sometimes even to the point of choosing our own death. These decisions especially when risking our own lives usually come with lots and lots of uncertainty.