Story: The Three Fishes

This is a TEACHING story – showing the differences between wisdom and stupidity and what lies between – being clever.

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Read the story below

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Three fat fishes lived in a deep hidden pool near a river bend: one was wise, the other was clever and the third was stupid. They were fat because they ran the show in their fairly hidden and protected pool – and so any that visited – eels, insects, frogs, snake and of course other fish – they could eat.

And then one day, three men found the pool – and as they approached one of them pointed out and spotted the fat lovely fish. And all of the fish could see that the men there pointing and excited.

Now the wise fish acted immediately and without even saying goodbye, he was off – swimming to new places. And as did so he made a big splash and churned up the water in his rush to escape to waters new.

The clever fish, who also realised that there was a problem thought – I am going to have to outwit these men. The stupid fish didn’t really see that there was a problem – maybe the men had just come to watch he reasoned. And anyway, he could hide at the deepest bottom of the pool.

Clever fish knew though that this was risky – that something more needed to be done – as the men could have nets that could trawl along the bottom of the pool, however deep it was. But the more clever fish thought, he just could not come up with a plan that seemed watertight (if you will pardon the expression). “How to act and when – that was the question? I must analyse this predicament very carefully – systematically separating out all of the variables, creatively scrutinise tactical possibilities; and dynamically evolve an escape strategy.” And as he thinks, the deeper he sinks.

At last he decides that he needs information so he goes to inspect the inlet from the river. But when he got there he found that the men have covered this exit with some of their nets. The channel on the other side of the pond had also been covered he discovered as he swam across. “Damn” he says to himself.

Luckily though he was clever enough to remember that “Panic solves nothing.” And “there is nothing like pressure to concentrate the mind.” And sure enough he came up with a brilliant plan. So what clever fish does is bite up a huge glob of filthy mud and swirls it about his mouth. It’s awful but he manages it. And then he swims back to the surface, rolls over all limp and floats as if dead.

And it works. One of the men notices clever fish floating, picks him up and smells him. “This one is dead and rotten” he shouts and throws clever fish onto the ground. Clever fish holds his breath and when the men are back at their work, he flips himself over and over until he reaches one of the channels beyond the netting, tumbles into the water with a smacking sound, spews the horrible mud and swims off to safety.

Stupid fish is asleep at the bottom of the pool until the net closes around him. Alas there is no escape for stupid fish and he ends up providing a quite delicious supper for the men and their families.

And later the men tell endless stories of the “Two Big Ones That got away” but nobody ever believes them.