The Tale of the Puddle Fish

Once Upon a Puddle

This is the story about some fish who lived in a very small puddle of water. Hear their conversation:

“Give me that waterbug!”
“No, I saw him first!”
“Get your fins off my supper! He’s mine I tell you!”

And so, every day, the little fish spent their time competing for waterbugs. Their stagnant puddle was cradled between the roots of an ancient oak tree, just beside a flowing river.

But one morning, there was a sudden SPLASH!

An amazing, brightly colored fish had jumped into the riverside puddle… a fish with golden scales. And –what was most unusual in this particular puddle–he was smiling!

One of the puddle-fishes asked, “Where do you come from?”

The Sparkling Fish smiled brightly, “I come from the SEA!”

“The sea! What is the sea?”

The Sparkling Fish was surprised: “No one has ever told you about the sea? Why the sea…the sea is what fish are made for. It isn’t like this little puddle; it’s endless. A fish needn’t swim in circles all day…he can dance with the tides! And it’s sparkling clear! The sea is what fish are made for!”

Then a pale, gray puddle-fish spoke up: ” But, how do we get to the sea?

The Sparkling Fish answered: “It’s a simple matter. You jump from this little puddle into that river and trust that the current will take you to the sea.”

Astonishment clouded the puddle-water. At long last a brave little fish swam forward with a hard, experienced look in his eye. He was a Realist Fish.

He said: “It’s pleasant to talk about this ‘sea business,’ but –if you ask me– we have to face reality. And what is reality? Obviously, it’s day-to-day life–swimming in circles and hunting for waterbugs, Life is hard, It takes a Realist Fish to face facts.”

The Sparkling Fish smiled. “But you don’t understand…I’ve BEEN there. I’ve SEEN the sea. It’s far more wonderful than you can…” But before he could finish speaking, the Realist Fish swam away.

Next, a fish came up with a nervous twitch in his tail. He was a Scared Fish. He stammered, “You mean, we’re suppose to j-jump into that big, swift river over there?”

“Yes. For a fish who wants to go to the sea, the way lies through that river.”

The Scared Fish’s voice trembled in terror…”Look, I’m just an ordinary fish! That river is deep and strong and wide, and I don’t know where it goes. Why I might be swept away by the current. If I jumped out of my puddle, I wouldn’t have any control over my life. NO! It’s too risky for me!”

The Sparkling Fish whispered, “Just trust ME. Trust that the river will take you some place GOOD…” But before he could finish, the Scared Fish hurried away.

Finally there swam out a very dignified figure in a black robe. He was a Theologian Fish. Calmly, he adjusted his spectacles, saying: “My brother and sister fishes, our distinguished visitor has expressed many views which merit our consideration. However, these puddle-fishes have expressed OTHER views. By all means, let us be reasonable. We can work this out… Why not form a discussion group? We could meet every Tuesday at 7 o’clock, and I’m sure some of the lady fishes would be happy to bring some refreshments.”

The eyes of the Sparkling Fish grew sad…. “No, this will never do,” he said. “Talking is important, but in the end –it is a simple matter. You JUMP. You jump out of this puddle and trust that the river will take you to the sea. Who will come and follow me?”

At first no one moved, But then a few puddle-fishes swam to his side. Together they jumped into the river and the current swept then away to the sea.

The remaining puddle-fishes began to swim in circles and hunt for waterbugs just like they always had.

Going From Sunday to Monday by Linda R. Douty


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