Monday, May 7, 2012

the starfish thrower

Once upon a time, there was a 
wise man who used to go to 
the ocean to do his writing. 
He had a habit of walking on 
the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along 
the shore, he looked down the beach
and saw a human figure moving 
like a dancer. 

He smiled to himself at the thought 
of someone who would dance to the 
day, and so, he walked faster to catch 
up.  As he got closer, he noticed that 
the figure was that of a young man, 
and that what he was doing was 
not dancing at all. 

The young man was reaching down 
to the shore, picking up small objects, 
and throwing them into the ocean. 

He came closer still and called out, 
"Good morning! May I ask what it 
is that you are doing?" 

The young man paused, looked up, 
and replied "Throwing starfish into 
the ocean." 

"I must ask, then, why are you 
throwing starfish into the ocean?" 
asked the somewhat startled wise man. 

To this, the young man replied, 
"The sun is up and the tide is going out. 
If I don't throw them in, they'll die." 

Upon hearing this, the wise man 
commented, "But, young man, do you 
not realize that there are miles and miles
of beach and there are starfish all along 
every mile? You can't possibly make 
a difference!" 

At this, the young man bent down, 
picked up yet another starfish,
and threw it into the ocean. 

As it met the water, he said, 
"It made a difference for that one." 

This story has appeared all over the web 
in various forms, usually with no credit 
given to Mr. Eiseley.  Loren Eiseley was 
a anthropologist who wrote extensively. 
He was the 'wise man' in the story, 
and he was walking along a beach after 
a storm and encountered the fellow 
throwing the starfish back.  Sometimes 
it is a little girl throwing the starfish 
into the ocean, sometimes a young man,
once even an elder

[thanks to bang Roka - for the sharing]

No comments: