The Black Box

An allegory about blaming others for our troubles.

There was once a slave who labored hard all day with a heavy ax, felling trees for his stern master.

All day, with every stroke of his ax, the slave would moan, “Damn that ole’ Adam!”

One day the master strode up on his horse and heard the slave, and asked, “Why are you cursing Adam?”

The slave replied, “Well, if Adam hadn’t done what he did, I wouldn’t be toilin’ in the heat like I am every day.”

So, the master took the slave and brought him to the big house, cleaned him up, dressed him in fine garments and told him, “You now have full run of the house. Do as you so please. Anything you want, you may have. But one thing: you shall not, under any circumstances, open the black box on the table in the parlor. If you do, you will be sent back to the fields and there you will toil all the days of your life.”

The slave agreed and happily sat back to enjoy what he thought to be sheer paradise.

Weeks went by, the slave being fed and waited on hand and foot. But the thought wouldn’t leave his head… it began to grate on his nerves and diminish his happiness, little by little. He had to know what was in that black box!

Finally, he broke down, rushed over and opened the box only to find a note from the master, which said, “Do not blame Adam for the sin you yourself have committed. Return to the fields to labor.”

Share Your Thoughts