Monday, February 10, 2020

Microstory 1296: The Fisherman and His Small Catch

There once was a humble fisherman who possessed no skills but fishing, no assets but his little hut, and his fishing gear, and no hope for a better tomorrow. He lived day to day, surviving on the catch he made when he went out to the center of the little pond near his home. Over the years, the fisherman noticed his catches were getting smaller and smaller, and the fish themselves were getting smaller too. During one of these times, he caught a very, very small fish—probably the smallest he had ever seen on his line. The tiny fish begged for its life, claiming that the fisherman should throw it back into the water, and wait for it to grow much bigger. The fisherman scoffed, for he felt he was too old and wise to be fooled by such nonsense. “I might as well keep you, because you may be small, but I would rather eat very little tonight than nothing.” But the fisherman was wrong. You see, even though he was the only one who ever fished in that pond, he did it every day, and what he didn’t realize was that he was cleaning it out more and more each time. The fish population was shrinking by the week. Some small fish were meant to be food for the larger fish, but with nothing to eat, these larger fish died before they could lay eggs. The fisherman needed to learn that good things would come to those who wait. A small catch wasn’t better than nothing if he had to put too much effort into it. He was better off being patient, and waiting for something more rewarding…more useful. But the fisherman was not patient, and did not think things through, and he thought he would spend his whole life fishing in this pond without a care in the world. As it turned out, he was the architect of his own demise. He was starving, and near death, before he finally gave up on that pond, and moved somewhere else.

This story was inspired by, and revised from, an Aesop Fable called The Fisherman and the Little Fish.

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