Once a wealthy merchant navigated the high seas going from one state to another when his boat got caught in a raging storm and capsized. The Merchant was marooned, holding onto a log of wood and trying not to drown. He was sure he would die before the night passed.
Just then, a fisherman in a small boat came into his view. The exhausted Merchant called out to the Fisherman and pleaded with him to save him, “I’ll give you whatever you want. In fact, I’ll give you all the wealth I have.”
The Fisherman rowed his boat to where the Merchant was floating. He took him into his small boat and started rowing towards the shore.
As soon as the Merchant got onto the boat, he started having misgivings about the promise he made the Fisherman.
“I was hasty to commit all my wealth. What can I do?” the Merchant thought. He had an idea. He told the Fisherman, ” My friend, I want to give you all my wealth for saving me, but my family will not agree. So let’s do this. I’ll give you half my wealth and retain the other half for my family.”
The Fisherman kept quiet and kept rowing the boat towards the shore.
As some more time passed, the Merchant started feeling even more upset with himself.
“What did the Fisherman do? Nothing. He would have saved me in any case because it was his moral duty to save someone in trouble. Even I would have done the same. In fact, by saving me, he has earned some good karma,” the Merchant thought to himself.
So, after some time, the Merchant said to the Fisherman, ” I’ll give you a quarter of my wealth as I have many other responsibilities.”
The Fisherman was impassive and did not say anything.
Finally, the boat reached the shore, and the Fisherman and the Merchant set foot on land exhausted but safe.
The Merchant took out a Nickel and gave it to the Fisherman, saying, ” thank you for saving me. Please accept this Nickel as a token of my appreciation.”
The Fisherman returned the Nickel to the Merchant, saying, ” I just did my duty. You don’t need to give me anything. Please let it be.”
The story ends here.
The Merchant in the story, in a lot of ways, symbolizes us.
Whenever we get an opportunity to do something good, we keep postponing, into the future- tomorrow, weekend, later.
When we have a thought to perform a good deed, we should do it immediately. If we think, “I’ll do it later,” we will never do it. We will find reasons to slip out of the good deed, like the Merchant in the story.
When you feel like appreciating someone- do it when the thought crosses your mind.
If you find yourself thinking of your friend, make the call. Don’t think about waiting till the weekend to make the call in your free time. Make the call.
Don’t Delay doing the good.