The drum and the knife

A little boy was very sad one day when he heard his older sister playing on the violin. She had received the violin on her birthday and had learned just a few pieces. But the little boy felt that his sister was a great musician, and he was sad and jealous.

The older sister was consoling her brother, saying, "On your birthday, I am sure our parents will give you something very nice. I got the violin on my birthday. I'm sure they will give you any instrument that you like on your birthday."

The little boy's birthday came in a few months' time. Since he was very little and he always liked to make noise, his mother gave him a drum. The father was a little bit disturbed, but the mother said to him, "What did you do at his age?" The father himself had played a drum, so he kept quiet.

Day in and day out the little boy played on the drum. Whenever his sister tried to play her violin, he would ruin her music by banging on his drum. Sometimes she felt sad and cried. Other times she would just say, "What can I do?" Her father told her, "Since your brother is so little, in a few weeks he will stop playing altogether. Children are fond of doing things only for a short time." So she decided she would just tolerate the situation.

Unfortunately, this went on and on, and everybody in the house became very disturbed. But nobody had the heart to stop the little boy. He was the youngest and they had such love for him. What could they do? One day the little child's maternal aunt came to visit the family. She was a very unkind and shrewd lady. For a few days she appreciated the boy like anything, saying he was a great musician. Just before she left, the aunt told him, "I am going to give you a gift that will make you happy and also make your family happy." Then she gave him a knife to play with.

One day the boy was playing with the knife when, quite unexpectedly, he struck the drum and ruined it. He cried miserably and felt so sad that he no longer had the drum. Of course, in the back of her mind the aunt had hoped that one day he would ruin the drum with the knife. The message went to the aunt's house that the boy had broken the drum and that the parents were very happy — especially the father, who had not had the heart to stop his son from playing.

Over the years the boy became very attached to that beautiful knife. Always he used to keep it with him. When he was a teenager, he was once attacked in a park by two drug addicts who threatened to beat him if he did not give them money. He had only ten dollars, but he was so furious that he took out the knife and waved it in front of them. Both of them ran away.

The boy said, "This knife really has saved me today." So he went to his aunt's house and said, "When I was a little child, you gave me this knife and today it has saved me. Out of gratitude, I shall give you what I have. I have only a ten dollar bill, but I wish to give it to you."

As soon as his aunt saw the knife and the ten dollar bill, and her nephew's tears of delight, she said to herself, "O God, Your world is even because there are bad people like me and good people like this boy." The boy never knew what had been in the back of her mind.