This photo prompt from The Haunted Wordsmith instantly reminded me of a tale that has shaped my life and my attitude to earning my bread and butter.
I need to go and pick out a dress to wear when I see Goldfinch tomorrow…I hope you are enjoying the weekend and you enjoy the tale below as much as I do.
This story has been told thousands of times with many variations. This is one version I heard. It is a story that makes me smile from ear to ear as it shows up something pretty stupid about this striving after the wind, striving after endless more that is promoted today.
The fisherman returned home in his pirogue and was met by an expert in economics who was working on expanding the economy in that developing country. The expert asked the fisherman why he was back so early. He replied that he could have stayed out longer but that he had caught enough to care for his family.
“So now, what will you do with your time for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman responded: “Well, I do a little fishing. I play with my children. We all have a rest when it gets hot. In the evening, we have a meal together. Later, I get together with my friends for some music, and talk with other villagers.”
The expert interrupted: “Look, I have a university degree and have studied these matters. I want to help you make your life better. I recommend that you stay out fishing longer. You would earn a lot more. Soon you will be able to purchase a bigger boat than this pirogue. With a bigger boat, you would earn still more. Before long you will be able to build up a fleet of trawlers.”
“That sounds interesting. What I would do then?” the fisherman inquired.
“Then, instead of selling fish through a middleman, you could negotiate directly with the factory or even start your own fish-processing plant. Do you realize you would be able to leave your village and move to London, or Paris, or New York and run the whole thing from there. You could even consider putting your business on the stock market and earn millions, perhaps more.”
Raising his eye-brows, the fisherman asked, “How long would that all take?”
“Perhaps 15 to 20 years,” the expert answered.
“And then what would I do?” the fisherman continued.
“That is when life gets interesting,” the expert explained. “You see, then you could retire. You could move away from the hustle and bustle of it all to some remote village.”
“And what then?” asked the fisherman.
“Then you have time to do a little fishing, play with your children, have a siesta when it gets hot, have supper with the family, and get together with friends for some music.”