A Hawaiian Story

Making a difference [courtesy of Robert Zuk]

Once upon a time, there was a wise kupuna (elder), who went to the sea to contemplate. One day while walking along the shore, the kupuna looked down the beach, and saw a gracefully dancing human figure. The kupuna wondered out loud, "who would so joyfully greet this day with hula?" and began to walk faster to catch up. Getting closer the kupuna saw that the dancer was a keiki (child), who was not dancing at all. The keiki was reaching down to the sand to pick up something, and was gently throwing it into the sea. The kupuna called out to the keiki, "Aloha! What are you doing?" The keiki paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish into the sea." Surprised, the kupuna sputtered, "I guess I should have asked, "Why are you throwing starfish into the sea?" The keiki smiled brightly, pointed upward and, with exquisite simplicity, replied "The sun is up, the tide is going out, if I don't throw them in they will die." "But don't you realize," asked the kupuna, "that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You can't possibly make a difference!" The keiki listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it gently into the sea, just beyond the breaking waves, and exuberantly declared, "It made a difference for that one."     -- Ka Hôkû Kai

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