Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Fisherman's Lesson

One beautiful summer Saturday a man decided that he wanted to enjoy the sunshine and relax doing one of his favorite weekend activities, fishing. So, he got his little boat and his fishing gear prepared. On the way to his favorite little fishing lake he stopped at the convenience store that also sold bait. While he was there buying his night crawlers, he bought a lunch to take along and even got a little flask of whiskey to help relax him while fishing.

When he arrived at the boat launch it was the perfect day...75 degrees and sunny, with a mild breeze. His little seven horsepower motor puttered him out onto the lake and over to one of the areas where he preferred to fish. It was close to a swampy shoreline so there were no houses nearby. In addition to being one of his "lucky spots" for fishing, this part of the lake often had lots of birds and a few reptiles so that if the fishing wasn't good there was always something to watch.

He shut down the engine and threw out the anchor. This was his favorite lake because it was too small for skiing or tubing and there were no beaches on the lake, so it tended to be quiet. Not many people in the area even knew about this little lake. Today he felt extra lucky because he was the only one on the lake and that was just fine with him.

There was always something about being on the water with the sounds of nature that was naturally relaxing for him. But it turned out that it was not a great day for fishing. He got a few nibbles but they were few and far apart. Still it was nice to be out in the beautiful was good.

As the time passed he started to spend more of his time watching everything around him. First he watched the clouds and remembered being a kid and trying to find shapes of objects in the random cloud formations. It made him feel like a kid again to do the same thing now. But soon the clouds cleared and he thought to himself, "Even the clouds are not cooperating with me today!" But that was alright, this was a day to relax. He had even decided that if he did catch any fish he would most likely just throw them back...he was in a generous mood. So since the clouds had disappeared, he turned his attention to the ripples on the water caused by the breeze. There was something about moving water that was entrancing. He could watch it for hours. But after about ten minutes the wind died and the ripples died along with it.

So, he began to look along the shoreline to see if there were any animals to watch today. There were no birds. He could hear a few frogs croaking in the water, but that was about all. Then all of a sudden he saw a little splash over by some reeds in the water followed by a little movement toward his boat. There was something long and thin moving toward him. As it got closer he could see that it was a small water snake and it was holding something in its mouth...something that was wiggling a little! As it got even closer he could see a small frog being held in the snake's mouth...still alive…his four legs sticking straight out and wiggling! His immediate thought was to feel sorry for the little helpless frog...he thought to himself, "that poor frog, caught by that evil snake."

The snake kept moving closer to the boat. As it moved along side the boat he couldn't take it any longer. He quickly reached over the side of his boat and grabbed the snake right behind its head. He squeezed the snake slightly and as he did it released its grip on the frog enough for the man to take the frog out of the snake’s mouth. The frog was still alive and appeared to be unharmed. He held the little frog down near the water and it jumped out of his hand and swam away. As it swam out of sight the fisherman had a nice warm feeling of having done a good deed...he had saved the little frog's life. He was proud of what he had done.

After a few minutes he realized he still was holding the snake. He looked down at it and it looked up at him. For some reason, at that moment he realized that not only had he saved the frog, but he had most likely taken the snake's meal away from him. What right did he have to interfere with nature like that? He tried to think what he could do to make it up to the snake. He didn't have any frogs in the boat that was certain. As he looked over at his tackle box he saw his lunch and next to it was the flask of whiskey.

He made a decision...whiskey had always be good for him, so why not the snake? He reached over with one hand, opened the flask, picked it up and put a few drops of the whiskey in the snake’s mouth...and it didn't even flinch. He then put the snake over the side of the boat and gently set it in the water and let it swim away...and it headed right back toward the swampy area where it first had been.

At that point the fisherman thought to himself that this was possibly the perfect win-win situation...he had saved the frog's life AND the snake came out ok too! He sat back feeling proud of himself. He looked up and some clouds were back and he marveled at their beauty. This was indeed a great day! He closed his eyes and relaxed.

After a while he thought he heard a very soft sort of bumping sound on the side of the boat. He had no idea what that could be, so he leaned to look over the side of the boat. To his surprise there was the snake looking up at the fisherman with TWO frogs in his mouth!

The fisherman learned a valuable lesson that day: whatever behavior you reward you will get back two fold!

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