Monday, January 20, 2020

Microstory 1281: The Little Fish and the Big Net

There was a fisherman who was proud of his work. He did not care to go to the market and purchase the tools he needed for his trade. When the seas were too dangerous, or when he just wasn’t up for going out on the water, he liked to sit in his cabin, and create his own tools. He carved his own fishing rods, strung his own fishing lines, and even weaved his own net. He was so proud of his net that he couldn’t wait to go back out there, and give it a try. He dropped it in the water, and dragged it along to pick up as many fish as he possibly could. Now, the fish he caught were large, which were great, but he noticed that a great many smaller fish escaped his clutches. He was not happy with this. He wanted to get all the fish he possibly could, so he went back home, and started weaving a new net. He made it as tight as he possibly could, so barely a drop of water could pass through. “No fish will escape me now,” the fisherman said after months and months of working on it tirelessly. He dropped it in the water, and scooped up a hefty haul. When he took his catch to the market, he noticed that people were still only buying the larger fish from him. “Why don’t you take some of these instead?” he would ask. They always answered the same, that there was not enough meat for them to get anything out of those tiny little fish. “But I worked so much harder to get these ones,” he complained. It didn’t matter. His efforts were not just pointless, but counterproductive. Had he only focused on gathering the fish he would be able to sell, he would have been able to catch more than one school. No one cared how much effort he put into his profession; only the results of those efforts. They would have been just as happy with the larger net.

This story was inspired by, and revised from, an Aesop Fable called The Fisherman and His Nets.

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