Posted by: Anne | January 21, 2008


Early one morning a man headed out for his customary walk on the beach near his house.  There had been a storm the night before, and something unique would often wash up on the sandy shore after a high surf.  He hoped for an unusual ‘find’ to add to his collection of ‘drift-items’. 

As he approached the beach he could see a young boy meandering down the shore. The boy would stop, lean down, pick up something and toss it into the ocean.   As the man came closer he could see what the boy was doing.  The beach was littered with starfish that had been washed up from the bottom of the ocean by the previous night’s storm. 

He asked the lad, “What are you doing?”  

The boy paused and replied, “I’m rescuing the starfish.”  

The man, with grown-up wisdom, observed, “There are hundreds, maybe thousands of starfish washed up!  There are too many! It won’t make any difference!”

The boy paused again, leaned over, picked up another starfish and, tossing it into the water, replied with a youthful innocence, “It makes a difference to that one.” Then he continued his meandering course down the beach, pausing, and picking up another stranded starfish, tossing it into the ocean before it baked and died in the hot sun.  The man stood in awe. With each one tossed into the surf, the boy would say, “It makes a difference to that one. . . It makes a difference to that one. . .  It makes a difference. . .”

After a couple of minutes of watching the boy’s determined rescue, the man stepped over to a dying starfish. He leaned down, picked it up, tossing it into the water, saying, “Makes a difference to that one.” And, he began his own meandering rescue.

Blogger’s Note: I’d heard this story before, and wanted to post it, but I didn’t remember it exactly. So, I did a quick search and found it here.

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