The Starfish Story
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to
do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and
saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the
thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and
that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching
down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the
He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it
is that you are doing?"
The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into
the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the
ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going
out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you
not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish
all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and
threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a
difference for that one."