The Conscience and the Skunk©

Did you ever want to do something that you knew was wrong but suddenly decided not to do it? That was your conscience telling you not to do it.

Just consider what happened one day when a rabbit and a skunk ran head-on into each other in the middle of a field. The skunk knocked the rabbit right off his feet.

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” grumbled the rabbit.

“You should have jumped out of my way!” shouted the skunk. “Don’t you know skunks are faster than rabbits?”

“I don’t believe that,” said the rabbit.

“Well, it’s true,” the skunk replied. “And if you don’t believe it, I’ll race you anytime.”

The rabbit had to think about this for a moment. Then he remembered something and decided to play a trick on the skunk. You see, the rabbit had a twin brother who looked very much like him, and his twin just happened to be sleeping under an elm tree not far away. So the rabbit turned to the skunk and said, “Very well, skunk. Do you see that big elm tree on the top of that hill?”

“Yes,” said the skunk.

“I’ll race you to that tree,” said the rabbit, “and to show you how fast I am, I’ll give you a head start.”

“That’s a deal,” said the skunk, and he started running and did not look back.

The rabbit just stood there laughing as the skunk ran lickety-split as fast as he could to the top of the hill. When the skunk finally arrived, his tongue was hanging to the ground, and he thought he had surely won. But there in front of him was the rabbit. And to make matters worse, he was sleeping! What a disgrace this is for all the other skunks, he thought. And he dropped his head and slowly walked away.

Meanwhile, the other rabbit was at the bottom of the hill, still laughing at such a silly skunk. Suddenly, he heard a voice inside of himself: This is your conscience speaking, rabbit. You have cheated the skunk, and I will never let you forget this unless you tell the truth.

The rabbit thought for a few moments and then decided to find the skunk. When he did, the skunk looked very sad.

“Don’t be so unhappy,” said the rabbit. “I have something to tell you. I really didn’t win that race; I cheated.”

The skunk looked up in surprise. “What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well,” answered the rabbit, “I have a twin brother, and that rabbit you saw under the elm tree was not I. I knew he was there.”

“Gee,” said the skunk, “you certainly are honest. What made you tell me?”

“My conscience made me tell you,” said the rabbit.

“What is a conscience?” asked the skunk.

“It’s something inside me that tells me the difference between right and wrong,” the rabbit explained.

“Gosh,” said the skunk, “it must be wonderful to know right from wrong. Does everyone have a conscience?”

“I think so,” said the rabbit, “but some do not know they do.”

“By the way,” admitted the skunk, “there is something I must tell you. Skunks are really not faster than rabbits. I just made that up.”

The rabbit looked up in surprise at the skunk. He said, “You know something, Skunk? You have a conscience.”

“I do?” said the skunk. “I didn’t know skunks could have a conscience.”

“Well, now you know,” said the rabbit.

“Hooray! I have a conscience,” shouted the skunk. “But what do I do with it?”

Rabbit Rabbit

“Well,” said the rabbit, “in everything you do, just let your conscience be your guide.”

And the skunk did just that, forever after.

Follow your conscience day and night:
Let it be your guiding light.