The Starfish Thrower

StarfishAn old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

“Young lady,” he asked, “Why are you throwing the starfish into the ocean?”

“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die.”

“But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference.”

The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves, saying, “It made a difference for that one.”

The old man looked at the young woman inquisitively and thought about what she had done. Inspired, he joined her in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

Adapted version as used by the Starfish Charity in 2003.

Part of a 16-page essay of the same name by Loren Eiseley (1907–1977), published in 1969 in The Unexpected Universe. The Star Thrower is also the title of a 1978 anthology of Eiseley’s works (including the essay), which he completed shortly before his death.



Categories: Buddhist, Metta

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. Great Story!!! One can lead to the many, and Make A Difference!!!!

  2. Yes, very uplifting, thank you.

  3. Great message to being the weekend with :)

  4. When I was in college many years ago. The Socioilolgy professor..had the class do a group presentation. A few students in each. The question or project was..Who would you save? The people were on a boat and it was sinking…we could only save a few on a weight restricted blow up raft.Everyone in the group had to agree. Due to a group presentation we were to presented.The groups had to make decisions. Do we choose a pregnant mother on welfare, doctor, child, student, nurse?.As the many groups were adamant on quick..what seemed easy to them answers. I struggle..I told the would not make that discussion. As the group mad their choices..I explained to my professor..they all go on the raft or we all stay on he sinking boat. Although the paper and group would not include my opinion. I felt lacking and unheard. I’ve had he same struggle with all the different causes..now in the present. All for one..one love for all being!

    This reminds me of that experience.

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