Upon an island lavished with coconut trees and the greatest serenity found like nowhere else on this earth, lived a young fisherman. He was utterly depressed of the misfortunes life dealt him. He constantly yearned for great fortune and wealth but his hopeless situation prevented all that. To make ends meet he used to catch fish either for selling or dinner. His wife would sow baskets, mats, hats and umbrellas from the numerous evergreen palm trees that were scattered throughout the island.
So upon yet another misty morning, he prepared his fishing equipment kissed his wife and left for the entire day with the hopes of catching an abundant amount of fish so as to have enough for selling and eating. However, this time of year would see most fish seek warmer waters. So the fisherman had to compromise by buying expensive bait which meant that he had to catch fish or his family would starve. He thought his thoughts aloud. “By some miracle I’ll catch a fish which has swallowed a gold coin, thus I shall become rich and the poverty my family lives in will cease to be.” Said the fisherman speaking in his usual monotone voice after casting his lines and patiently waited as he was so accustomed to doing.
Hours passed and the young fisherman returned home walking along the sand. This day he stopped and turned to his right. He was amazed and fond of the golden crescent display of the sun setting. Such beauty was free even for someone as miserable as himself. The constant desire for money blinded him to the priceless serenity of nature. With the fish hanging at his side, the fisherman was greeted with a warm hug from his daughter, as his wife approached him offering a hand to help carry the fish.
Seeing how much his family had loved him, the fisherman could not help but feel depressed. He had promised himself that if he was a father, he would provide his child with all the materialistic pleasures of the world that he had been deprived of as a child. Regret would pile up day after day on his conscious and borrow deep within his heart.
After his wife prepared supper, the fisherman sat amidst his daughter and wife engaged in the usual banter that normally proceeded during that hour. Laughter and cheerfulness filled the air. Yet the fisherman, engrossed in thought, could not help but heed the cry of his heart, a void which he believed wealth could only fill. His wife, addressing that they should pray, was startled and shocked when in a fit of rage her husband burst forth the respond loudly “no!” He said, “If God is to neglect my prayer for riches in the hope of making my family happier, what value are we to give thanks to a God who refuses to help us in distress?”
Frustration was now evident.
His wife knew that such thoughts were certainly embedded in his heart. She replied by saying, “Oh dear, to what value will wealth be for a humble household as ours? We have food on our table, clothes cover our body and our daughter is of great health. Such things are more valuable than wealth. Neither you nor I abandoned each other in times of hardship and turmoil even when my parents consented to our union. I disregarded all voices but that of my heart. Thus I am your wife and bear your child the greatest gift is before your eyes yet you still seek another,” said his wife in her usual positive demeanour. Upon hearing this brief speech, the fisherman apologised for his outburst and blasphemous remarks. They sat around the table and played their favourite game of go fish.
He put his daughter to bed and began to read the little mermaid to her until she fell asleep. He then stared at his daughter, with the words from his wife resonating constantly in his head. Kissing his daughter on the forehead, he exited her room.
He went to the room he shared with his wife, and there she lay, on the bed reading a book by a dim light cast from a wax infested candle stand. The fisherman peered at the full moon’s surface, smiled as he looked at the clustered sky with millions and millions of stars staring down on him. He often thought that if we were all the way up there, no-one down here would look any bigger that a grain of sand. After apologising again for his outburst to his wife the, fisher man slept.
The following day all proceedings happened in the same monotonous fashion as always, but on this occasion the fisherman took a leg shackle with a weighted ball from the barn outside. In his boat he rowed a bit further away from his usual fishing spot. The fisherman prepared his lines and casted it. After a few hours of fishing he managed to catch five fish, relatively bigger than all others he had ever caught before. Coming to the conclusion that the deplorable state of his life was just too much to bear, the fisherman resolved that he will drown himself.
He nervously took the shackles, clasped them tightly around his ankle and threw the keys way.
He stared at the endless horizon and made one last prayer. “To the God of heaven,” said the fisherman screaming at the top of his voice, “my wretched soul can take no more of the pain You granted me. I failed in my faith, blinded with the illusion that wealth shall bring happiness. I cast away the very truth of your lessons and my daughter shall lose her father and my wife her husband. I grant that you give them happiness were I failed.”
He wept bitterly. Years of stored up emotions burst forth from his heart, after all, never shall he mourn or doubt his faith again. The fisherman picked up the weighted shackles and threw himself into the sea. All was silent and peaceful. Flashes of his daughter with a flower in her head and his wife weaving a hat from palm leaves were the last images in his mind as he sank slowly into the bottom depths of the ocean. Struggling frantically to get a small ounce of air, the fisherman’s efforts were in vain and he died at the bottom of the ocean with a smile on his face.
At the house the fisherman’s daughter, with a chrysanthemum flower in-between her ears, was building castles on the sea sand and his wife finish weaving a hat. Hours passed and there remained no sign of the fisherman’s return.
“Mummy, the sun has passed half way down and still Daddy’s not back,” said the daughter, anxiously pointing towards the direction of the sun with a worried look on her face. The fisherman’s wife, by some unknown intuition and feeling, became worried and stressed, peering anxiously at the direction the sun was setting. She noticed the boat but no-one in it.
After swimming waist deep, she retrieved the boat and began paddling back to the shore. She then took out the fish but sat with tears in her eyes as she came to a realisation. In the morning she had noticed that the weighted shackles were gone from the barn but didn’t think much of it. She knew that they provided an anchor for her now deceased husband. She cried for the conclusion was inevitable. Her daughter tapped her shoulders and asked, “Mummy, Mummy where’s Daddy?”
“Oh no, dear Daddy told me he would be going to the main land to buy you a wonderful gift for your birthday. I guess silly Daddy forgot to tie the boat, that’s why it drifted back to us.”
“Well Mummy, won’t we need to give Daddy the boat?”
“Yes, if Daddy doesn’t return then you and I will go look for him,” said her mother who could only lie to her daughter. She knew that there was no way she could let such a small child bear such a heavy burden.
Entering the house, an unfamiliar silence made itself known. The mother was preparing the fish in the usual manner that she was accustomed to. She began to weep silently, her tears continuously dripping on the fish. She felt anger surge through her. In a moment of fury she violently gashed the fish, dissecting it into two halves. However, as she did that a solid object hit the ground and a noise similar to that of a coin was heard.
She went to the tap and cleaned the blood-stained object. When the blood was off she was surprised and astounded that it was a gold coin. She rushed for the four other fishes, dissected them in the same manner and realised that all five fish possessed an amount of sixty gold coins in total. She knew that her husband had finally given them what he believed to be happiness even at the cost of his own life.
Tell us: Do you think suicide is the best way for dealing with things?