A Story of a Trio of Boys Who Went Fishing

A parable relating to our existential crisis.

The weather was fair and sunny. A trio of boys found themselves down by the river bank in the mid-afternoon heat. Each one of them held a fishing rod. And attached to the hook at the end of the line was a bait. Now, casting their fishing lines into the river water, they patiently waited. While waiting, one of them turned to the others and said, “I wonder what we’ll catch today.” He sounded calm and nonchalant. As soon as he said that, he felt a strong tug on his fishing line.

Almost cheerily, he forcibly pulled backwards on his fishing rod, using both strength and weight to his advantage. After a few minutes of back-and-forth tugging on both ends, he finally managed to pull out a huge trout from the water. It plopped onto the patch of grass he was sitting on, flopping around on its side before succumbing to death. Satisfied, he took the fish in his hands and retired for the day.

Two of them remained. Sitting there in anticipation, they were eager not to be beaten by the other in terms of who could catch his own fish faster, for fear of being left alone. One of them remarked, “I’m getting sick and tired of waiting for my meal. I’m going home.” As soon as those last words came out of his mouth, he was almost dragged into the river by the unexpected tautness of the fishing line: he got his catch. Resting the fish on his shoulder with his left hand, he turned around to pat his friend with the other, “Poor you. Looks like you’ll be left all alone to contend with your misfortune for today.” And with a snicker, he was off.

The last friend sat there in solitude – though a little disheartened, he felt evermore compelled by his growing hunger to keep on going. By then, evening had arrived and the sun was retiring to its resting place beneath the horizon. By now, he was getting restless. He had been waiting for three hours to no avail: his luck really must have run out. As the sky turned orange, the water calmed itself to an almost immovable state. And instead of seeing his own reflection, he now saw the entire volume of water, all the way to its very bottom; he saw the occasional fishes scattered across the riverbed. Carefully reeling back his fishing line, he decided to recast it – only this time, strategically to a spot where he’d seen two fishes gathered momentarily. Without wasting anymore time, he cast the fishing line into the water, surrendering to his fate. Surely enough, he felt the tug and was spared the wait. Just as soon as he’d caught his fish, night descended upon the water, rendering its body invisible once again.

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