The parable of the two fishermen

Ross Woods, 2016

Once upon a time, there was a remote village on the coast of a distant land. The people were poor and often hungry.

Two friends were walking along the beach looking at the ocean when one of them said, I'm sure the waters here are teeming with fish. Wouldn’t it be good if we learned how to catch them and feed the village?

They agreed that it would be a good idea and that they should become fishermen. They traveled to other villages to watch fishermen catch fish and asked lots of questions. They learned how to make and repair nets. They learned about small boats and the sea. They learned which fish were good and which had dangerous spikes or were poisonous.

Then they started to catch fish for their village. They both thought, I will need a lot of fish, so I will need to work very hard and learn how to be very good. They both became good fishermen and gave lots of fish to the people of the village.

After a while, they noticed that they were not catching enough fish for the whole village. Most people had very little, and some never got any fish.

The first fisherman decided that he needed to work harder. He woke up at two every morning and went to sea to catch fish, then brought them back to the village. Then he’d go to sea again in the afternoon, so he was very tired every night. He gave even more fish to the people, and he was more skillful at catching fish than the second fisherman.

The second fisherman decided that it would be better if other people could also learn how to catch fish. He offered to teach ten people from the village. He could not spend so much time catching fish, but he taught them all he knew and they all caught some fish. The second fisherman then asked them to go watch the first fisherman because he was very skilful. But the first fisherman was too busy catching fish and replied: I’m very busy and I get very tired, because so many people need fish to eat. I could not possibly help you.

The second fisherman kept teaching the group of ten. They were all different:

In the end, which of the two provided most fish for the village?