The Devil’s Auction


It was once announced that the devil was going out of business and would offer his tools for sale to whoever would pay his price. On the night of the sale they were all attractively displayed, and a bad looking lots they were. Malice, envy, hatred, jealousy, sensuality, deceit, and all the other implements of evil were spread out, each marked with its price. Apart from all the rest lay a harmless looking, wedge-shaped tool, much worn and priced higher than any of the others. Someone asked the devil what it was. “That’s discouragement,” was the reply. “Well, why do you have it priced so high?” “Because,” replied the devil, “it is more useful to me than any of the others. I can pry open and get inside a man’s consciousness with that when I couldn’t get near him with any of the others, and when once inside I can use it with nearly everybody, as very few people yet know that it belongs to me!” “You say you use this wedge of discouragement with nearly everybody – with whom can’t you use it?” The devil hesitated a long time and finally said in a low voice, “I can’t use it in getting into the consciousness of a grateful man.” It hardly need be added that the devil’s price for discouragement was so high that it was never sold. He still owns it and he is still using it.

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