The Works of Sydney Fowler Wright 1874 - 1965

A Parable For The Times

by S. Fowler Wright

'The Star'
Also published as: 'Parable of the Times': Vol 2. No. 98, PERTH
SATURDAY December 1. 1956.

A Parable For The Times

        There was a man who possessed a lake, in which were five fishes, which he lacked skill to catch. So, being hungry, he said to one who was skilled in fishing, and who was as hungry as he: "You can show your skill in my lake, doing what you will with the catch you make, if you will pay me a rent of two fish."

        The man answered: "I would agree to that, but I have no rod." So he went to a maker of rods, who said: "I will sell you a rod for two fish."

        The man counted the fish in the lake, and said: "I cannot bargain thus, for there would be only one fish left for myself, and I require two."

        He went back to the owner of the lake and offered a rent of one fish, but this he would not take. "Why," he asked, "should I have less than others when the whole is mine? The rod-maker asks too much for his rod."

        But the rod-maker said: "Why should I have less than others? What use is it to own a lake, or to fish with skill, if you have no rod? It is that on which all depends. It is you" (he spoke to the fisherman) "who ask too much. What do you do but pull out of the water the fish which are not yours with a rod which you could not make? You should be content with one fish."

        But the fisherman laughed at that, saying: "You may own all the lakes that the world holds, and you may make thousands of rods, but of what use will they be if you have no skill to fish? I will have a wage of two fish, or I will do nothing at all."

        They argued thus as they sat on the lake-side, and they argued well, for each could see that his neighbours were two fools, as, in fact, they were.

        While they argued, they starved.

The End