Legend of the Starfish

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“A vacationing businessman was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned. The boy was walking slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed a beached starfish back into the ocean.

The businessman, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense, walked up to the boy and said, “I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day? Surely, such an industrious and kindhearted boy such as yourself could find something better to do with your time. Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?” 

The boy looked up at that man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said, “It makes a difference to that one.”

~ Adapted from The Unexpected Universe. Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. pp. 67-92. By Loren Eiseley ©1964

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