The Selfishness of the Human Heart

A little boy came home from school one day to find his goldfish floating motionless of the surface of the fish tank. He was devastated and began to cry. His father tried to console him by saying: ‘It’s sad when a pet dies. But here’s what we will do. We’ll Put the dead fish in a matchbox, take it out into the garden and invite your friends to join with us in conducting a funeral service. Then afterwards I will take you and your friends to the ice cream parlour and buy you all an ice cream.’ The little boy was cheered by this promise but suddenly he noticed that the goldfish was not dead as he had supposed, but had revived somehow and begun swimming merrily around the bowl. The little boy gave a whoop of joy, and clapped his hands in glee that his pet goldfish was still alive.

A few minutes later, however, he remembered the promise of his father to take him and his friends to the ice cream parlour. Now that would no longer be a possibility and the boy had mixed emotions – gladness that his goldfish was still alive, but sadness that he would miss out on a trip to the ice cream parlour. Eventually, one emotion dominated the other and turning to his father he said, ‘I know, let’s kill it!’

Selwyn Hughes

Selwyn Hughes, The Seven Laws of Spiritual Success, p.125