Chapter 8

As had happened with the Arabian tale, the young salmon soon understood the story from far away over the sea. The swallow was right again. The story had taught him a good lesson. If they went on down that road, without changing course, it would be the road to ruin, just as had happened with those on the ship.

So that evening, he told those closest to him the story. They told others nearby, who in turn told the story to others. By midnight, all the fish at the farm knew the story about the ship, the story about those who had stubbornly held onto their own grievances and had finally got stuck in the ice because they hadn’t changed course.

Without any doubt they had to abandon the fights and bloodshed and decide upon a solution that was acceptable to all of them. This wasn’t an easy job at all because none of them wanted to give anything up.

The group of fish that wanted to go on slowly and calmly at the fishfarm wouldn’t accept that the decision should be taken between all of them. If the majority decided to jump into the river they would also have to do so, and they didn’t want that. The ones that wanted to jump into the river weren’t many, that much was true, and they would not be the majority, but they could possibly convince the rest with those tales and stories they told so well, and that scared them. Furthermore, they didn’t want anybody to jump into the river. They thought the keeper might get extremely angry if some jumped out and might give the ones that stayed behind an exemplary punishment, and there was no way they wanted to pay for what others had done.

The group that would gladly stay at the fishfarm if they managed to get an increase of the daily dose thought that it was a good idea to take a decision between all of them. The ones that wanted to jump into the river were not many and their wish would not prevail. On top of that, if the dose increased, some might decide to abandon the idea of jumping out and decide to stay at the fishfarm. Furthermore, the group that wanted to live a calm and peaceful life at the farm wouldn’t refuse an improved daily ration. They knew therefore, that their proposal would easily win: they would ask for a larger dose and live in the fishfarm, comfortably and peacefully.

The ones that preferred to jump into the river rather than wait for the ever smaller quantity of food pellets knew better than any of the others what they had to do next: summon up their courage and jump into the river. Besides, they were happy to let it be a joint decision. They knew that salmon could reach the sea by swimming down the river, and swimming in the sea is said to be one of the most pleasurable things. Total freedom. And that is what they say is the lifestyle meant for salmon. They didn’t think it would be difficult to make the other salmon widen their view of the world. Furthermore, they knew they were fighting for everybody’s rights and that if they all got together there would be no fishfarm or walls that could stop them. They were ready to give everything up for freedom and they announced their ideas left right and centre. However, the ones that proclaimed freedom for all also asked for everybody, without exception, to jump into the river. They didn’t think it was right that some should be free whilst others remained under the control of the keeper at the fishfarm.

The other groups, of course, were not ready to accept any such thing. In fact, it was not right to force anybody do something they didn’t want to.

It was very difficult, therefore, to find a solution acceptable to everyone. Nevertheless, after listening to the story from over the seas they all agreed that they should stop fighting with each other.

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