There is an old tale about the Kublai Khan that illustrates the downside of misdirected anger. As you may know, the Kublai inherited the largest empire in Asia from his grandfather Genghis Khan and is remembered as the first Non-Han emperor to conquer all of China. What you may not know, is that he would often hunt in the forests of his homeland to relax and unwind from the stress of ongoing battles. On his hunting trips he would use a falcon that would help him to spot deer and other wild game in the forest. The falcon would fly in circles above the prey leading man and horse to the kill. The great Khan was known to have great affection for his companion animal and it could be said that they helped each other.
In the year 1281, during the second Mongol invasion on Japan, the emperor was frustrated and angry after losing more than 100,000 soldiers in his second unsuccessful effort at conquering Japan. He went hunting with his closest friends but upon his return home, he dismissed them after a long and unsuccessful day in the heat. He remained in the forest with his falcon and sought out a freshwater spring to quench his thirst. It was a very hot summer many of the streams had run dry, so it was necessary to travel to the spring’s source higher up in the mountains.
Upon arriving at one of his favourite spots, there was only a trickle of water, so he proceeded to fill his cup slowly drop by drop. After what seemed like an eternity, he went to lift his cup to his parched lips. His falcon suddenly flew to his right hand, knocking the cup to the ground. Remarkably, this happened on two more occasions with the Kublai getting angrier by the minute. On the third and last time the infuriated man tore the sword from his sheath and struck at the bird; killing it on the first blow. In his fury he also trampled his mug smashing it to a dozen pieces.
The Kublai was unable to “see” and understand that the bird flying high above the ground could spot a dead snake higher up the cliff, its toxic body decaying in a small pool of water. He had killed his old friend in a blind fit of rage. It was only when he ascended the hill to drink the water with his hands he discovered the dead snake and realized his apparent mistake. It is said that he made a solemn oath to never react in anger again, and those who knew him said that he was a changed man after that experience.