- A cautionary tale -
Once upon a time there was a man.
He was an intelligent, well-spoken, handsome and accomplished man.
One day he decided to go for a swim. "I deserve it," he thought. "I definitely deserve a nice swim."
"Oh, no," people warned him, "but do not swim here! There are dangerous currents in the sea here. Rather go to the beach further along the coast."
But the man was insistent. "I deserve a nice, cool swim," he thought. "And I deserve it right now. I won't go too far in so I am sure I will be okay."
And being a stubborn kind of man, he impatiently shooed away the people who tried to stop him and entered the water. He swam for a while and it felt good.
"Well," thought the man, "that just shows you that I know best. Just see what a lovely swim I am having!"
But the current started pulling him in, deeper and deeper, and within a short while he was in
trouble and couldn't see the beach at all.
"Help, help!" shouted the man.
But nobody heard him.
He was now in the open sea, kilometres away from land. Soon he was becoming tired and could hardly hold his head up.
"Help, help!" he shouted again.
But nobody heard him.
Then he saw a log drifting by and grabbed hold of it.
And so he floated for a day, holding on to the log.
After a while he saw a small fishing boat.
"Help, help!" he shouted.
The fishermen heard his cries for help and immediately rowed their boat right next to the man.
"Grab my hand," shouted the one fisherman, "and I will pull you on board."
The man held out his one hand but he would not let go of the log.
"Let go of the log," said the fisherman, "so that we can save you."
"No," said the man. "This is MY log, I found it and I won't let go of it."
"But don't you want to be saved?" asked the other fisherman.
"Of course I want to be saved," said the man crossly.
"Then grab my hand," said the fisherman, "and let go of the log!"
But the man refused. "I will NOT let go of my log!" he said. "I will not! It is my log!"
"You are not being very realistic," said the one fisherman.
"How can we help you if you do not want to let go of the log?" said the other one.
The man shrugged his shoulders. "I have no idea," he said. "But I am sure you can make a plan."
The fishermen were bemused. "Well," said the one to the other, "there is no space on our boat for
the man AND his log."
"And the log is way too heavy," said the other fisherman. "Our boat will surely sink."
"Listen," said the man, "enough of all this talk. I am terribly hungry. There is no food on this log. Can you give me some food, please?"
And so the fishermen shared their food with the man.
"And I am thirsty. Can I have some water, please?"
So they gave him some water.
"And it would be really nice if you could hold an umbrella over my head. The sun is quite harsh."
So the fishermen held an umbrella over his head.
But it was getting later and later, and in the distance they could see storm clouds building up.
"Listen," they shouted to the man. "You need to grab hold of our arms and let go of the log right
now! We need to get to shore!"
But the man would not let go of the log.
"Let us save you," the fishermen pleaded with the man.
"Yes," said the man."I need to be saved. But if you think I am going to let go of my log you have
another think coming. Don't hold your breath!"
"Well," said the fishermen, "we need to turn back now."
And with a sad wave they said goodbye to the man.
The man kept on holding on to his log. He was feeling quite bitter. "I do not deserve this," he
thought. "I need to be saved, and nobody is doing it."
Then he saw a shark, circling around him.
"Oh dear," he thought.
"Come back, come back!" he shouted to the fishermen. But they were long gone.
"Maybe I should have listened to the fishermen," he thought, "maybe they had a point."
The shark circled closer and closer.
The man held on to his log.
"Please don't eat me!" cried the man.
"Sorry, but I am hungry," said the shark, and proceeded to gobble him up, from his toes, right up
his legs, the buttocks and waist and torso, the head, and finally the hands and fingers that
desperately held onto the log.
The shark burped and swam away.
And the log floated, bobbing up and down, up and down, until it disappeared on the horizon.
(© MS 2016)