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The Boy and the Boat

Written by Dan Linton

Once there was a boy who lived near the sea. This boy owned a small boat, and every day he would row his small boat out from a small dock that was attached to a small island where he lived in a small house.

Each day the boy would row his small boat out from the small island to fish for his dinner, and always to one particular small cove very near the small dock. He had lived on the small island all his life, and his fisherman friends had told the boy long ago about the cove where he should fish. There he could catch small fish easily, even though they weren’t the largest or tastiest fish. “Why go looking for other fish somewhere else when you can always get fish in the small cove? Why risk your boat and your life going anywhere else?” they asked.

The boy didn’t question his friends, and spent many years fishing in the same small cove. In fact, the boy had been catching and eating the same small fish from the same small cove for so long that he didn’t even remember what other kinds of fish looked or tasted like. Every fisherman on the island had always gone to the save small cove, and caught the same small fish for dinner, for as long as any of his fisherman friends could remember.

One day the boy was rowing towards the cove to fish when the sky suddenly darkened. The boy turned for home and he rowed his small boat as quickly and strongly as he could, but he could not row fast enough. The storm clouds grew and the rain poured down and the strong winds blew the boy in the small boat far from shore.

The boy continued to row, even though the rain and the wind and the storm caused him to lose his way. He could not see his small dock, or even his small island, and he continued to row anyway because he was scared and it was the only thing he knew how to do.

In time, the rain ceased and the wind calmed and the sky lightened. The boy was very tired and stopped rowing for a moment to look around. There, in the very far distance, he saw the small island, now nothing more than a spec on the horizon. The boy became even more fearful, turned his boat towards the spec and began to row the boat furiously, rowing as quickly and as strongly as he could to get back to his small house on his small island.

Yet no matter how strongly or how quickly he rowed, he got no closer to the small island, and the spec on the horizon grew no larger. The sea and the wind would not allow him to return. The boy rowed more quickly and more strongly than before, and he became even more scared that he would never see his small house on his small island again.

Many days and nights passed, and the boy became weaker and weaker. Finally he could not row any more and the boy in the small boat drifted. He pulled in his oars, his arms and shoulders and back now exhausted, and looked longingly at the spec that was still visible in the distance, longing for the safety and comfort of his small home on the small island, perhaps he thought for the last time.

The waters became calm, and the boy lay in the bottom of the small boat, and he let sleep take him, believing he would not wake.

Time slowed down, time sped up, and time stopped. Fantastic creatures danced in the boy’s dreams, and he remained laying in the boat for a few moments that became years and lifetimes.

Then the small boat rocked, side to side and gently at first like a baby’s crib. The rocking became urgent and forceful, demanding attention. The boy was tumbled about inside the small boat, and he awoke, startled that he would even awake at all.

Just beyond the bow of his small boat, high up in the sky floated a Whale. A huge and golden Whale. The Whale swam slowly through the sky, as if the Whale was a whale and the sky was the ocean.

The Whale turned to observe the boy, examining him and understanding him all at once. The boy froze in his small boat, scared by the Whale and mesmerized by the Whale all at once. Then the Whale’s voice boomed clearly and deeply within the boy’s mind -“Just let go.”

The boy was scared and confused, and remained frozen in place with his eyes locked on the magnificent golden flying Whale. Then a moment and a lifetime later, the Whale vanished, as if it had never been there.

The boy was alone, sitting is his small boat. The sea was calm, and he could still see the spec of his small island in the distance. His energy had returned to his arms and shoulders and back, so the boy began to row towards his small home again.

And again, no matter how much he rowed, the boy and his small boat got no closer to the small island.

Finally the boy stopped rowing, this time out of frustration instead of exhaustion. Why could he not get any closer? Why did the sky and the sea keep stopping him from going back to his small home on the small island? The boy’s rage grew, and he raged at the sky and the sea, screaming and yelling and kicking until he could not scream or yell or kick any more. The Sea and the Sky watched the boy rage at them.

Then the boy raged at himself, and cursed his poor rowing and his lack of strength to pull himself back. The Sea and the Sky watched the boy rage at himself.

Exhausted, the boy then sat in his small boat, not knowing what to do. He sat quietly, with no more rage to give the sky the sea or himself, he was empty. In this moment he looked over the sea and he noticed something – a glint of water moving. Just beyond his small boat, a few yards past him and away from the island, away from the direction he had been rowing all this time, there was a strong current.

The boy could see the ripples on the surface and the movement under the water. In all his furious paddling pointing towards the island, he had not noticed the strong current. It wasn’t where he had been looking.

Then he remembered the words of Whale, and with one easy stroke of the oars he placed the boat into the strong current. He did not know where the strong current would take him, perhaps it would take him further out to sea and away from his small home and he was scared.

And as the strong current carried the boy in the small boat towards he knew not where, he let go. He was scared and he just let go anyway.

Moments and lifetimes passed, and the boy was carried a great distance by the small boat in the strong current. Fantastic creatures danced in his dreams, and in time, a spec appeared on the horizon.

The spec grew into an large island as the strong current carried the small boat towards it. The large island revealed a new and larger cove to the boy and here he fished for new kinds of fish, all larger and tastier fish than he had ever experienced before. The boy fished the large cove and explored the large island, and met more fantastic creatures, and grew into a Man. When he looked out to Sea, the Man could now see the spec on the horizon that was his small home on the small island far in the distance, and he wondered why he had never noticed the large island upon which he now experienced such wonder and riches.

The Man then decided he should share the wonder and riches of this new large island with his fisherman friends back on the small island, so he built a bigger boat and with his new strength he rowed out to sea and found a strong current to return him to the small island.

The Man arrived back at the small dock on the small island, and his fisherman friends couldn’t believe their eyes. The Man had been gone for so long, and was so much bigger and stronger, they barely recognized him. The Man told them of the wonder and riches of the larger island, and he stood on the small dock and pointed at the spec in the distance to show them.

His fisherman friends could not see the spec, they could not see the larger island. They only saw endless sea and sky. The Man asked his friends to trust him and follow him to the larger island, and then they too could enjoy larger and tastier fish in abundance. They too could meet fantastic creatures.

But because they could not see it, and they knew they could get fish from their small cove on their small island, they refused to follow the Man there. The Man tried to convince them and showed them the larger and tastier fish, and his friends could not believe it. They said the fish must be cut differently or cooked differently, and they assumed the Man must be trying to trick them, and to lure them away so he could have all the small fish to himself.

The fishermen of the small island thought the Man should be punished for this. It was not right to try to trick people into thinking there was larger island which they could not see, with larger and tastier fish that could not be there, and with fantastic creatures which could not be real.

So the Fisherman punished the Man. They imprisoned the man for a lifetime and a moment. In time, they told the Man “admit you were trying to trick us and we will let you out!”

But he was not trying to trick them, and he would not admit to it.

More time passed and finally, the Man grew weary of being imprisoned. He told them “yes I was trying to trick you and I am sorry.” He knew that was a lie, but he wished to go back to his larger island with it’s larger and tastier fish and it’s fantastic creatures. The fishermen accepted this and let him out of his prison. The Man then continued to live in his home on the small island, and regularly fished in the small cove with his small boat for the small fish – but then when the other fishermen weren’t looking, he would row his bigger boat into the current and head to his larger island.

There he would eat the larger and tastier fish, and meet with the fantastic creatures and do things the fishermen could not imagine. Once the Man and the fantastic creatures even worked together to save the small island from a tidal wave – and the fishermen who had imprisoned the man never knew about it. Even though the fisherman had punished the Man, he still acted to save them knowing they would not know, and they would not thank him.

The Man eventually grew old, living sometimes on the small island, and living sometimes more greatly on the large island. One day on the small island, a boy was told about the Old Man and how he had been imprisoned for his trickery – the fishermen wanted him to know so he would not be so foolish. Instead the boy became curious, and came to the Man one day and asked him to tell him stories of the large island.

And the Old Man told the boy all about the stronger current, the bigger boat, the larger island, and the larger and tastier fish, and the fantastic creatures. The Old Man made the boy promise to never tell the others on the small island about what Man told him – because he too might become imprisoned. The boy promised, and then one day in secret the Old Man took the boy to the larger island, and showed him.

Then the Boy started to explore the island and meet the fantastic creatures and began to grow into Man himself.

The End.

About the author

Dan Linton

Dan likes video games, pizza, and spending time with his dog. He has been a student of NextStage since December 2015.

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