The Devil and the Duck


There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm.

He was given a slingshot to play with, out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back home for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma’s pet duck.

Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head and killed it. He was shocked and grieved.

In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch the next day Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.”

But Sally said, “Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.”

Then she whispered to him, “Remember the duck?

So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, “I’m sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.”

Sally just smiled and said, “Well that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help.”

She whispered again, “Remember the duck?

So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck.

Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.

What we need to understand…

Whatever is in our past, whatever we have done… and the devil keeps throwing it up in our face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.) …..whatever it is….We need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing….. He has seen our whole life. He wants us to know that He loves us and that we are forgiven.

He’s just wondering how long we will let the devil make a slave of us.

We may have committed something in the past, which may be against moral values or moral ethics or existing social norms and it keeps pricking our conscience. Due to our inability to admit and accept our mistakes, we are unable to transcend them and move on in life and therefore we continuously get tortured by them. We also expose ourselves to possible blackmail the rest of our lives.

Nobody is perfect; we all have our own set of imperfections. Had we been perfect we wouldn’t have manifested on this planet in the first place. We are all here to perfect ourselves.

Swami Vivekananda, a great spiritual master from India, says, “Vedaanta recognizes no sin, it only recognizes error; and the greatest error, says Vedaanta, is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature and that you have no power. Summon up your all-powerful nature and this whole universe will lie at your feet. It is the Self alone that predominates and not the matter.

Actually there are no mistakes in life, only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery. From struggle comes strength. Even pain can be a wonderful teacher.

According to Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi, a great spiritual master from India, “However sinful a person may be, if he would stop wailing inconsolably, ‘Alas, I am a sinner, how shall I attain salvation?’ and casting away even the thought that he is a sinner, if he would zealously carry on meditation on the Self, he would most assuredly get reformed.

It can’t be emphasized more that all guilt is an evil emotion and should be avoided like the very devil. When we are guilty, it is not our sins we hate, but ourselves.

We can never be happy with guilt, remember we cannot dance with guilt. Guilt will paralyze us; wherever we go, we cannot laugh, we cannot move in ecstasy, because we will always be afraid of the suppressed.

Guilt is an emotion that all of us have felt at various times of our lives. This is one emotion, which can be draining and depressing and can rob us, to a great extent, of our mental peace and energy.

There is no such thing as eternal condemnation. Everyone has plenty of opportunities to change and evolve to higher levels on the spiritual path.

There are no sins, only errors in judgment and errors happen in ignorance, in lack of awareness.

The great thing about God is that when we ask for forgiveness, He not only forgives us, but He forgets. It is divine nature to give and forgive and it is human nature to get and forget. It is noble to give without remembering and to receive without forgetting.


Always remember:

God is at the window.

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2 thoughts on “The Devil and the Duck

  1. Chintu

    ‘The boy and the duck’ story is an eye-opener to any good person who suffers from some kind of guilt or another.

  2. Niyati

    The message is beautifully conveyed. We must learn to forgive ourselves.

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