bunn (bunn) wrote,

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Irritating moral story

You know how you get those little short stories that convey a moral? Well, this particular one, the Starfish Story, about how helping one person is always worth it, gets on my tits. Not sure why this one particularly, but it just does. Today I was inspired to rewrite it from the point of view of the starfish.

Actually, my rewrite is also exactly the sort of thing I often don't like because it has an unhappy ending, and I do like a happy ending. If you do too, you probably won't like my version. You have been warned!

The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…”
I made a difference for that one.”


The Starfish Story
Revised version by: me

The starfish lay on the sandy shore. It was beaten, bruised and battered. Ripped from the rocky undershore where it had grown and lived for two long and mostly happy years, it had been thrown about by the waves, reaching out desperately with its tubefeet for some kind of anchor or safety. All around it, savagely beaked fish snapped at other helpless victims of the storm, but somehow the starfish escaped - by luck alone, for it had no way to steer or swim in the fierce swell.

Finally the long terror was over. The final wave tossed it and at last it came down on a surface - sand! Finally, something to grasp! Starfish cannot sigh, but it relaxed for a moment in relief. As soon as it had recovered itself a little, it would stretch out its tubefeet and bury itself before the sand became too dry. Perhaps tomorrow, when the tide came in, it could find another rocky shelf.

Suddenly, a giant grabbed it from on high. The giant's hand was covered in a thin layer of acidic grease, and its very touch was agony. The starfish retracted its tubefeet in disgust.

Then it was flying, high, terrifyingly high, above the waves. It hit the surface of the water with a paralysing blow and stiffened in agony as the waves took it, flinging it high in the unforgiving surf.

On the shore, the giant was saying something smug.

An hour later, the starfish washed up again on the beach, but by that time he was too weak to extend his tubefeet. A herring gull landed nearby, and it was all over.
Tags: rescue, smugness, writing

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