The Starfish Story

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The Starfish Story

Post by 23luda23 on June 29th 2009, 4:19 am

The Starfish Story
adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)

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 work.

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 catch up.

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 ocean.

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."


This story has appeared all over the web in various forms, usually with no credit given to Mr. Eiseley. Sometimes it is a little girl throwing the starfish into the ocean, sometimes a young man, once even an elderly Indian. In any form it is a beautiful story and one that makes you think.
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Re: The Starfish Story

Post by Wind-Dancer on June 29th 2009, 9:23 am

awesome story. A great teaching. It taught me that we should always help when we can. One life at a time we can help the world.

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Re: The Starfish Story

Post by Linda on June 29th 2009, 2:23 pm

I Love this story, a little help is better than no help at all, that is for sure!
Linda (-:
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Re: The Starfish Story

Post by parrotlover100 on June 29th 2009, 4:48 pm

yes i like this story very much i have read it in different forms too but you are right, mr. Eiseley doesn't get the credit he deserves for the insight and inspirational meaning of this story. good job Mr. Eiseley for no matter which form you read or hear his story it is a good teaching.and very beautifully put.we can all make a difference by helping one at a time. Thumb

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Re: The Starfish Story

Post by Spirit-Being on July 1st 2009, 8:49 pm

My girlfriend always said to me if you want to change the world you have to start with 1 person at a time. Making a difference does not always bring dramatic results now but in the long run the difference would be enormous.

Many Blessings

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