What a morning! The sun shone golden and clear, the water was pure, as long no longer and the little fish belly growled in anticipation. In a moment there will be something to eat, in a moment, in a moment, in a moment!!! He could hardly wait. Like every morning, after the water jar had been cleaned, the curtains drawn to let the sun in and happy music blaring from the radio into his little round fish bowl. What a life, sheltered and safe! Nothing could penetrate this glass, nothing could be dangerous to him. No dolphins, no moray eels, no predatory mussels. Only clear water and he, the iridescent orange goldfish.
The morning also started fantastically for the dolphin. The turquoise-green sea enveloped him in warm, invigorating water, the sun painted works of art in the white seabed, and a moray eel had just told him at length about its wild dreams. Also, a few handsome clams had passed by and little octopus children who wanted the moray to tell the old stories of when yours were several meters tall and ventured as far as the shore. And the moray patiently told the same stories over and over again. The little octopuses listened intently and the dolphin danced around them all, intoxicated with life.
Then a snail joined in and said that she knew an even more incredible story, one that they had certainly never heard before and that she had even experienced herself! The moray, happy to be allowed to rest for a while, retreated into its cave, only sticking its little head out with interest, because of course it too was curious to hear what the snail had to tell. Then the snail began with her story.
Not long ago, she lived not far from here on land. She actually had a nice home, down at the mouth of the river, but one day a person came, took her away and put her with a goldfish in a glass of water. She was dead unhappy about it, all alone with this fish always swimming in circles and there was nothing to eat either, so she had to suck the food remains from inside the glass. She asked the goldfish why it lived in the water glass and not like its brothers and sisters in the sea, or in the river and the goldfish had answered with firm conviction, because it was safe in the glass. Out there, he had warned them, there were wild animals! Moray eels, dolphins, giant clams, octopuses and many more that want to eat us, but here in his glass, they are safe and protected!
She had answered him that moray eels do not like goldfish and they would also disdain mussels. And from dolphins she knew exactly that they would admire goldfish even, because of their beauty! If dolphins were hungry, she explained, they would swim out into the open sea and get some sardines, or squid, but goldfish were not on the dolphin’s menu. That’s when the goldfish got angry.
What a lie! Moray denier!!! Dolphin sympathizer!!
He would know exactly what was going on out there, he hears it every day and would therefore know better!
But it’s beautiful in freedom, she would have answered him, it’s all full of wonderful brothers and sisters, in all colors and sizes and they all have great respect for goldfish!
Moray denier, dolphin sympathizer!!!
She tried again every day, but it didn’t help. At some point she retreated to her cottage and fell into a severe depression, no longer eating anything or wanting to live. A life in a small glass of water, with a neurotic goldfish, that was not a future worth living for her.
One evening the human came again. And when he saw that she was lying completely motionless at the bottom of the water glass, he took her and threw her back into the sea.
The others looked at the snail in disbelief. A goldfish in a water glass? The little octopuses were so creeped out by the idea that they started spraying ink and the moray eel widened its eyes in horror.
„What a cruel story, a fish in a water glass!“
The dolphin, however, remained calm and said that he had heard about it too. He said there were fish, not just goldfish, that preferred the water glass to life in the wild. They had been told from an early age that only life in a water glass was safe, while life in freedom was cruel and brutal, and that on no day would they know how long they had to live.
„Then we must convince them otherwise,“ cried one of the mussels!
„Forget it,“ replied the snail. The water glass fish and we, come from different worlds, there was nothing to be done, she had tried long enough.
„Maybe you can,“ said the dolphin. „We dolphins have a special relationship with humans and know their behavior very well. Maybe I can manage to get the human to let the goldfish out into the wild?“
„How are you going to do that,“ the moray eel replied incredulously, „you don’t even speak their language?“
„I’ll think of something,“ said the dolphin, with a knowing look, and swam away.
A little later, he returned, with a plant in his mouth that bore small, purple flowers.
„An aquatic plant?“ the moray asked, confused.
The snail laughed, „are you trying to give the human a gift?“
„Something like that,“ replied the dolphin, swimming to shore and flinging the ferny green stuff onto the old wooden jetty.
The next morning the man came to the sea. Just as he was about to jump off the jetty into the water, he saw the plant lying on the boards. Its flowers were slightly sunken, but still vivid purple. Hastily, he picked up the plant, brought it inside, and put it in the jar with the fish.
„Oh, how nice,“ the goldfish rejoiced, „now I’m not so alone!“
The goldfish and the water plant became close friends, and one day, when little balls grew on the roots of the plant, it told him that he could eat them, they were very tasty! At first the goldfish hesitated, because he had never eaten anything else than the food that man had put in his water, but then he dared to eat one of the pellets.
The taste was incredible, what a pleasure, so fresh and so invigorating! Immediately he plucked another globule and another and another until he was full and round. The water plant was happy to have done good to its friend and let new globules grow.
The goldfish became really addicted to the fruits of the plant, until one day it was so big that it could hardly move in the glass. The aquatic plant had also more than doubled in size, feeding on the droppings of its friend. Its blossoms now extended far beyond the rim of the jar.
Many days had passed since the dolphin had brought the greenery from the river mouth to the jetty and the sea creatures were getting impatient. They could not make sense of what the dolphin was doing. Just as the moray was about to retreat to its cave in frustration, they heard a wet clap.
„What was that?“ asked the snail.
„Sounded like something fell in the water,“ replied one of the mussels.
„I’ll go check,“ said the moray eel and swam to the jetty.
She couldn’t believe her eyes. Huddled at the base of one of the wooden pilings sat a handsome orange goldfish, with a purple flowering aquatic plant next to it. The dolphin also came to the pier and finally the mussels, the snail and the octopus children.
When the goldfish saw them, he panicked. „Help, help, somebody help me!!!“
„We won’t hurt you,“ the dolphin tried to placate, and the others also did their best to calm the new housemate.
„Look, we’re all your brothers and sisters, and no one means you any harm.“
„Moray deniers, dolphin sympathizers!!!“ The goldfish exclaimed excitedly, barely getting its mouth shut again in fear.
Hearing this, the moray eel couldn’t hold on any longer and started laughing out loud. The dolphin also lost its temper and the mussels rattled their shells happily in unison.
„Look, dear friend,“ said the dolphin, in an anxiously serious voice. „True, this is the unconquered wilderness here, but no one wants to harm you; on the contrary. Everyone here admires your beauty. And besides, goldfish don’t taste good.“
„You want to eat me, you want to eat me, I know it for sure, I’ve heard it over and over again, it’s the truth!!!“ The goldfish was very excited and would not be swayed.
„Well, for my part,“ said the dolphin with a lusty undertone, „I prefer sardines and squid.“
Then followed a long while of silence. Everyone seemed kind of perplexed.
„Okay, it’s true,“ the moray interrupted the silence, „we eat fish.“
„See, I knew it, you eat fish!!!“
„But only old and weak ones that would die soon anyway, but not young hoppers like you. Especially not when they are full of fear, because then you get a stomach ache from them.“
Just when everyone had done their utmost to calm the goldfish, who was still trembling with fear, the dolphin made a great leap forward, tore open its mouth and made the goldfish disappear into it. Then it sped away like an arrow with its prey.
The others were frozen. What a betrayal, what a cruel deceit, and even the usually level-headed moray eel was beside himself. A few minutes later, the dolphin returned.
„Goldfish murderer!“ one of the mussels drove at him close to tears.
„How mean of you, sardines my ass!“ the snail exclaimed, beside himself.
„Did you have to do that, brother? A goldfish?!!“ asked the moray eel with a serious look.
„I detest goldfish,“ replied the dolphin, „they taste disgusting!“
„Then why did you eat him?“ asked the moray eel.
„I didn’t eat him. I took him to the river. Goldfish are freshwater fish.“
A load fell from the heart of the small community. They apologized to the dolphin for their prejudice and went their way in high spirits.
The goldfish had recovered amazingly quickly from the fright and enjoyed his new life in freedom. From time to time he swam to the old wooden jetty to visit his friend, the water plant. It was so big by now that its blossoms were almost sticking out of the water.
Meanwhile, the human had a new goldfish for his water glass. „You’re safe here!“ he told him every morning. Then he sprinkled some food into the water.